April 11, 2013
By Jim Moore
Diamond Aircraft dealers carried the company flag to Sun ’n Fun International Fly-In & Expo, holding a press conference to announce the updated DA40 XLT model for 2013 and the recall of some workers recently laid off by Diamond Aircraft in London, Ontario.
Operations at Diamond Aircraft Industries in Austria were not affected by the decision to “restructure” the Canada operation and cut the majority of the staff.
“Last week, Diamond started hiring people back,” said Fred Ahles, president of Premier Aircraft Sales Inc. in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., during a media briefing in Lakeland, Fla., April 10, adding “more than 20” of the workers had been recalled. Another dealer’s newsletter reported in February that 161 of 212 factory workers in Ontario had been laid off.
“They, just like everybody else, had to cut back because field inventories got so high,” Ahles said.
Diamond also announced in February the suspension of the D-Jet program, noting that expected investment by Medrar Financial Group in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, failed to materialize.
The dealers in Lakeland were eager to highlight a variety of interior improvements to the four-seat DA40, including seats that are an inch wider and more comfortable thanks to memory foam cushions and a high-tech leather surface coating (also used in BMW convertibles) that reflects heat to reduce temperature in sunlight. The Hartzell two-blade scimitar prop previously offered as an option is now standard, helping push the airplane to 150 knots true burning just over 10 gallons per hour.
Premier Aircraft Sales has also secured a supplemental type certificate for an optional air conditioning system offered as a $28,900 upgrade to the XLT, which lists for $377,800 excluding available options. Sun visors, cup holders, and an iPad Mini holder are also standard on the 2013 edition. The interior upgrades are the first for this model since 2004.
AOPA Online Associate Editor Jim Moore joined AOPA in 2011 and is an instrument-rated private pilot who enjoys competition aerobatics.
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