Testing of a seven-passenger Diamond Aircraft DA50-JP7 powered by a turboprop engine built in Ukraine is in progress in Austria. The aircraft was first announced at Germany’s Aero Friedrichshafen trade show in 2013 but has been tested with several engines since 2006. Additional information will be released at that show April 15 at Friedrichshafen in southern Germany near the Swiss border.
The aircraft completed its first flight in January at Wiener Neustadt, Austria, with Diamond Aircraft CEO Christian Dries and test pilot Ingmar Mayerbuch aboard. Afterward Dries declared the aircraft to fly like “a rocket.”
The airplane will be manufactured in two versions—“Tundra” and consumer versions. The Tundra will have oversize tires and rugged landing gear for rough terrain. The second version is aimed at the high-performance training market and private customers.
The 465-horsepower AI-450S turbine engine is built by Ukrainian company Motor Sich JSC in collaboration with Ivchenko Progress. Diamond officials claim a 20 percent lower fuel burn than similar turbine engines. The aircraft has full authority digital engine controls, meaning a lighter pilot workload. The engine start sequence begins with the push of a single button.
The aircraft will be built at Diamond Aircraft headquarters in Wiener Neustadt where another Diamond company, Austro Engine, is located. Austro is involved in certifying and later overhauling the DA50 engine.