By Thomas A. Horne
Diamond Aircraft has announced that its single-engine fanjet VLJ—the D-Jet—will be given an engine upgrade.
The airplane’s original, 1,564-pounds-thrust Williams FJ33-4A-15 engine has been dropped from the equipment list in favor of a much more powerful Williams engine—the 1,900-lbst Williams FJ33-4A-19.
The new engine means first deliveries will now slip to the second quarter of 2009, according to Diamond. Originally, certification of the D-Jet was expected this year.
The new engine’s advantages include “better bleed air management and improved specific fuel consumption,” Diamond said. “ Williams International’s accelerated development schedule of the FJ33-19 has made it viable to proactively launch D-Jet deliveries with this engine rather than reactively introducing it at a later date in response to competitive pressures,” according to a Diamond press release.
“The FJ33-19 is the very latest in turbofan engine technology and offers unique features never before available on a smaller turbofan engine,” explained Matt Huff, vice president of business development at Williams International. “We are pleased that our accelerated development schedule for this engine now makes it feasible for Diamond to launch with the FJ33-19, instead of introducing it after initial aircraft deliveries. Every D-Jet customer will now benefit from technological advances, such as the built-in pre-cooler and new compressor technology.”
Presumably, the additional thrust of the -19 engine will increase the airplane’s maximum cruise speed, although Diamond provided no new information on the new D-Jet’s speed, range, or payload specifications. Originally, the D-Jet’s maximum cruise speed was listed as 315 knots, and its max range was given as 1,350 nm.
“The FJ33-19 engine is the perfect match for the D-Jet, offering the latest technology and a potential performance and utility upgrade path for delivered aircraft that the current engine just doesn’t allow. While making this change now rather than later means that initial deliveries will now be in second quarter 2009, we are confident this is the right choice and in the interest of all D-Jet customers, as it ensures one configuration and maximum resale value for all delivered aircraft,” said Peter Maurer, president of Diamond Aircraft.
Current holders of D-Jet delivery positions will buy their airplanes at their contracted prices; D-Jets were going for $1.38 million. But price increases for future orders of the higher-thrust airplane are expected shortly, Diamond said.
March 14, 2008