October 2009 Issue
Diamond’s Austro Diesel: Performance In Search of Durability
The new Austro diesels deliver impressive climb and single-engine numbers. But Diamond hopes so.
The NG in Diamondís new diesel-powered DA42 NG presumably means "next generation," but it could just as well stand for never-ending guts, for thatís what it took to bring this airplane to life. When, four years ago, Diamond certified the original DA42 with Thielert diesel engines, we considered it a bold move indeed. Following up that ill-starred project with a new model equipped with an engine Diamond certified itself strikes us as off-scale nervy, but thatís what the DA42 NG represents. To be accurate, the diesels in the NG werenít developed by Diamond, but by Austro, an independent company brought to life by Diamond principle Christian Dries. The new state-of-the-art engine factory is right next door to Diamondís Wiener-Neu-stadt factory located south of Vienna. The Austro engines exist because Dries and Diamond were unhappy with the service history of the original Thielert diesels and even more unhappy with Thielertís slow response in fixing the significant technical shortcomings those engines developed in the field. In record time, Austro certified the new AE300 and is now shipping it. The engine appears to be more efficient, it develops more power, but is also heavier than the original Thielert engines were. The large and unanswerable question is this: Will these engines deliver reasonable reliability and acceptable service history? Weíll know in a year or two; in the meantime, here are our impressions of the Austro-powered DA42 NG.
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