Used Aircraft Guide

September 2012 Issue

Used Aircraft Guide: Diamond DA20

For efficiency, speed, view and handling, it’s hard to beat. Just don’t expect any IFR.

The world of training aircraft has all but reinvented itself since Diamond introduced the DA20 to the North American market nearly 20 years ago. When the Katana appeared, Diamond reasoned that the fleet of ancient Cessna 150s and 152s was growing weary and operators would lust for replacements. What it didn’t anticipate was a couple of significant downturns, a glut of overproduction and the rise of the light sport aircraft market. The latter hasn’t exactly set towering sales records, but it doesn’t take many missed sales to turn a modest program into a struggling one. Nonetheless, Diamond has still found success with the DA20 as a basic trainer and as an inexpensive, owner-flown fun flyer that’s fast enough to fly the occasional cross country, albeit in VFR conditions only. Flight schools say customers like the DA20 for its sporty looks and handling, reasonable costs and expansive views from the airplane’s unique bubble canopy. Although many of those customers might not realize it, there’s something else to like, too: The DA20 has one of the best safety records in general aviation, hands down and with no asterisks.

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