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Diamond’s DART-550 aimed at the bullseye

Posted 30 January 2019 · Add Comment

Diamond Aircraft Industries GmbH has enjoyed great success across the MENA region with its twin-engined DA42 Twin Star. Now, writes Jon Lake, it hopes to repeat this success with its new range of Diamond Aircraft reconnaissance trainer DART) aerobatic turboprop aircraft.

This trainer aircraft made its regional debut (as the 450hp DART-450) at the Dubai Air Show in November 2017.
MENA air forces and flying training providers are now looking at the latest member of the family, the DART-550, which made its public debut at the Farnborough International Airshow 2018, just two months after Niko Daroussis and Ingmar Mayerbuch undertook the new variant’s maiden flight on May 3.
The DART trainer is intended for those countries that might be unable to afford the latest tandem-seat turboprop trainers, while offering similar performance and handling characteristics.
It achieves this primarily by making much greater use of composites than its rivals – indeed the DART-450 was claimed to be the world’s first all-carbon fibre, tandem, two-seat aerobatic civilian-certified trainer aircraft.
With a price tag of less than $4 million, Diamond CEO, Christian Dries, claimed that the DART-450 would cost less than half the price of a Pilatus PC-9, while its innovative all-composite construction would give significantly lower support and through-life costs.
The DART series was first announced at the Farnborough show in 2014, and the DART-450 made its debut at Farnborough in 2016, after a maiden flight on May 17 that year.
The DART series was always planned to be available as a range of variants with different engine power ratings, seat configurations and avionics options to meet diverse customer requirements.
The latest member of the family, the DART-550, is powered by a 550hp General Electric (former Walter) H75-100 engine, with an electronic engine and propeller control (EEPC) system, and a fully feathering and fully reversible five-bladed MT propeller.
The aircraft is fitted with a state-of-the-art glass cockpit with Garmin G3000 integrated avionics systems, sidestick controls and Martin Baker Mk 16 ejection seats. The DART-550 is expected to offer a maximum speed of 247kts, and an eight-hour endurance.
 

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