The DA50 turboprop made its first flight on 19 January 2015 at the company’s Wiener Neustadt base in Austria. CEO Christian Dries shared the test pilot duties with Ingmar Mayerbuch, Head of Flight Test.
The DA50 was first introduced at general aviation show AERO Friedrichshafen in April 2013. “With this turbine engine, the aircraft pretty much goes like a rocket,” declared Dries after the initial flight.
A single-engined turboprop with room for up to seven passengers, carrying the designation DA50-JP7 (JP for Jet Prop) the aircraft will be manufactured in two different versions: the Tundra variant with big wheels and rugged landing gear, designed for unimproved strips and rough terrain; and a more conventional-looking version aimed at pilot training and ‘private customers requiring high performance’. The DA50-JP7 is said to be perfectly suited for operations in harsh climates with temperatures ranging from minus 50°C to plus 50°C.
The 465 hp AI-450S turbine engine is built by Ukrainian company Motor Sich JSC in collaboration with Ivchenko Progress. It has been re-purposed especially for fixed-winged aircraft. The AI-450S is claimed to have a 20% lower fuel burn than similar turbine engines. It is said to be particularly fuel-efficient at medium altitudes and, being equipped with dual FADEC (electronic control systems) and a mechanical back-up it is very easy to operate.
DA50 production is due to commence at Diamond Aircraft headquarters in Wiener Neustadt, once certification has been completed (the company expects this to happen ‘mid to end of 2016’).