A DA50 powered by a turbine engine made its first flight Jan. 19 in Wiener Neustadt, Austria, with Christian Dries, CEO of Diamond Aircraft, as test pilot, along with Ingmar Mayerbuch, the company’s head of flight test.
The concept was first introduced at the general aviation show AERO Friedrichshafen in April 2013.
The single turboprop with room for up to seven passengers bears the name “DA50-JP7” (JP for Jet Prop).
According to company officials, it will be manufactured in two different versions. The Tundra variant with big wheels and rugged landing gear is designed for uneven strips and rough terrain. The second version is targeting training and private customers requiring high performance.
The 465-hp AI-450S turbine engine is built by a Ukrainian company, Motor Sich JSC, in collaboration with Ivchenko Progress. It has been designed especially for fixed-winged aircraft. The AI-450S has a 20% lower fuel burn than similar turbine engines, according to company officials, who note it is particularly fuel efficient at medium altitudes.
With dual electronic controls and a mechanical back-up system (Dual FADEC) it is very easy to operate, Diamond officials said, adding the engine starts at the push of a button.
After certification, which is expected by the end of 2016, the DA50-JP7 will be built at Diamond Aircraft headquarters in Wiener Neustadt, Austria.
Click here to watch the DA50-JP7 maiden flight video.