This was Flight two months ago. THe upshot of the relationship is a bit like (imo) "the board fully support the Chairman" if you see what I mean. Sir Seager tried to get the inside but they didn't go beyond what was already publicly stated.
Dare I say the Thielert production is fundamentally flawed anyway? All those wasted parts and reliance on Mercedes to keep producing that engine.
The consensus seems to be that the Theilert is, to put it mildly, overengineered. Apparently a 2-stroke would have done the job of the 4-stroke Centurion. Add to that the costly teething problems the Theilert had (the problem has been fixed though).
Apart from that, the TwinStar's first delivery was delayed by 4 months - no idea what wrong but it sounded like they were having serious brainstorming sessions. Could've been over the certification for the TKS systems - all the European customers ordered it (big surprise).
Interestingly, Diamond isn't providing any real training for the DA-42 except cockpit familiarisation - I hate to say it but I predict a few 'aviate, navigate, communicate' accidents in the making. In my opinion the aircraft is close enough in performance and systems to a light jet (due to very low drag, FADEC engines, G1000 and sundry other bits) to require extensive type-specific training. However, the EASA and FAA are treating it like an automatic car - no retraining required.
If Diamond don't provide mandatory training for the DA42, they WILL have major problems. As I know only too well, the UK GA instructor situation, when it comes to understanding anything complex, is already dire.
I don't think the aerodynamic efficiency or FADEC should be major issues though.
A slippery aircraft just needs some extra forward planning, but that's a logical extension of what a pilot should do anyway, and is easy enough to learn in not many hours. Not learning it quick enough isn't likely to be fatal. If one turns up in a C150 with 5 miles to run and with 5000ft to descend, it will be rather difficult, too
FADEC means one has to know *less* about engine management, which is a good thing. (Does it really mean that, I wonder, given the large number of Thielert engine failures in the DA40??)
The avionics would be THE major issue. A 2 day course min, and that's for a technically savvy pilot already familiar with all the concepts.
With a few cracked cylinders, perhaps. But, with a self fly hire plane, nobody is going to worry about that too much, are they?
Incidentally I have nothing against Diamond. I have always liked the DA40 and hoped they would make a major dent in the decrepit aviation scene. It just amazes me that in this day and age people still can't get an engine to work reliably.
It may be possible to descend 5000ft in 5 miles, but I wouldn't recommend it on a regular basis, even at just 90 kts in still air it would mean an average of 1500ft/min. A bit uncomfortable........
The complex avionics and systems on the Twin star do need a good bit of reading up for anyone who's not used to a glass cockpit, in the same way that learning to use any piece of electronic wizardry in any a/c is mainly a case of reading the manual combined with trial and error.
IO, you've still got to get a dig in about instructors. I have no idea where you were initially taught, but some FI's do understand a little bit about complex aircraft. Some even fly things like airbus' and Boeings which are slightly more compex than any GA machine no matter how new and shiny. I do get very tired and exasperated with your constant assertions that instructors are all awful. It is simply untrue, some are better than others and there are some muppets around but the vast majority are very good at what they do. Despite having to deal with the vast ego's of many students and PPL's. (Now I'm generalising, but I reckon I've flown with more PPL's and students than you have FI's to be able to make such an assertion.)
1500ft/min is pretty normal in a 737!!! And with power at 15-1700rpm you would only get about 80-90knt in an average 150.But make sure you dont bust any CTA's if your in southern england. Cant think of many places where you could be at 5000ft with 5 to run? unless your coming in from France!
Out of say 100 randomly chosen PPL instructors, how many would you say are entirely familiar with all of the following (very old) kit:
GNS430 GNS530 KLN94B KMD550 etc Then you get various autopilots incl ones that can fly an ILS and their quirks, GPSS (a.k.a. roll steering), etc.
It takes only a few minutes to learn how to use the radio+VOR in a GNSx30 and how to load waypoints into it but the rest of it is pretty complex if it is to be used fully as intended - even if ignoring the fact that some of it can't be used as intended (no GPS approaches for example).
I would say 5 (5%) at the PPL level (which includes instructors that do IMCR training). This means most students will never ever meet one. I've never met one.
Now, if we assume that anyone buying a DA42 either has an IR or is going to be doing one in it (pretty pointless otherwise I reckon) then one should get more luck with IR instructors. Would you say 10% to 20%? I know of one, working at another airfield, and he is booked up solidly for months ahead.
An additional obstacle is that nearly every ME instructor will absolutely love to do differences training in a DA42 - even if he knows next to nothing about the kit in it. Unless the client is unusually shrewd, he/she won't realise it until too late.
In a nutshell, if I was selling planes like this I would run a factory course. It would do wonders for customer relationships, too.
How many would use these systems on a daily basis? How many a/c have these fitted? Personally I know the 430 backwards and could have a pretty good stab with any of them. They aren't difficult to use but it does take a bit of time to get totally familiar with any new piece of equipment.
Complex aircraft should have a training course to show how to use the systems, but even if they don't, how difficult is it for anybody (including FI's) to pick up a manual and start playing.
Why is it that many FI's aren't familiar with 'fancy' avionics? How many training a/c have them fitted? Not many and anyway, the primary function of an instructor is to teach you how to navigate safely without all the bell and whistles.
You make it sound as if FI's are failing in some way by not being totally au fait with new stuff. How's is that true? New equipment takes time and practice to become competent on.
Of the aforementioned 100 PPL instructors, how many need to know how a certain autopilot works? Last time I checked it wasn't part of the syllabus. Anyway, they all work differently to each other even if the basics are the same, so being up to speed on all different types of RNAV, FMS, ECAS, ECAM, ABCD...... won't help when something new comes along that works in a different way.
Could I jump into a DA-42 without reading the manual. NO and nor should I. Everybody should be as familiar as possible in relation to the type they are flying. Before I would teach anybody about any system, I would have to be totally up to speed on it. Why would any other FI be any different? To say anything different is an insult to instructors everywhere.
As I said before, there are some muppets out there, but you constantly attack or make snide comments about instructors in many of your posts. Why don't you go and get a rating and show us how to do it if we are all so bad.
A few hours in the DA40 will make the transition to the DA42 very easy, the DA40 is a very easy aircraft to fly. It is very slippery and requires the pilot to think ahead, in my opinion, this is a good thing. The DA42 should be easier to fly then an early Seneca or similar where you have to be thinking about your approach during departure to stay ahead!
I agree that aditional training should be mandatory for aircraft fitted with the G1000. However some DA42's will be fitted with a more conventional panel (twin gns430/530's same as most IFR DA40's). There is an option of having G1000 fitted to a DA40, should this require mandatory training?
I agree that a typical instructor has no need to know about modern avionics, or modern anything for that matter - partly because the JAA syllabus doesn't require it, partly because it's not what the average student needs, and very much because the number of punters who get their PPL and then buy some space-wagon with state of the art avionics and want diff training is so small that most instructors will never get one.
However the context here is diff training specifically in a DA42. That should require an instructor who is fully familiar with everything in the aircraft, and the avionics are the most complex item. I accept that my criticisms of instructors (entirely based on my experience) are going to cheese off some old hands (the ATPL hour builders probably aren't too worried) but to suggest that the instructor can get the handbook out and learn about it is frankly ripping the student off. On differences training on something like that you expect, and pay for, type specific expertise, not only on the kit but also on any relevant aspects of handling. Anybody who can work through the PPL exams will have enough intelligence to read the manuals himself. I wouldn't pay an instructor to read the handbook the day before, and know no more about the handling of it than the basic numbers.
It has been alleged by owners that the official event log isn't representative of the real thing. Not being an owner I can't vouch for that, but perhaps there is a real and serious engine management issue there. All the publicity I've seen suggests that it is just about impossible to do any damage to the engine; the FADEC supposedly prevents that. If this is not the case, it would explain why some operators have not had any problems while others (one well known flying school, for example) have had loads. Whereas most owners operating the old iron will know something about engine management.
Diamond are based at Gamston. There are a number of instructors based there who have become very familiar with their products. It would be ridiculously easy to use this pool to offer difference training. As far as the avionics are concerned, there are a number of training aids available which allow any owner to master the things which could get him into trouble in a very small number of hours.
I do not know about other aircraft owners, but when I buy an aircraft I read every word I can find on the thing before I get into it for real. I think this is not a big problem
IO we both agree that that that it would be sensible to actually have some specific training on the avionics suite on something as different from the norm as a DA 40/42.
It's funny this discussion coming up now, I'm actually thinking of going down to Gamston and having a look at a 40 in the hope of getting one for the club. (Need some rich people to form a group however!)
I like many others am fed up with the dross that is in use in most clubs, getting a decent modern machine would be a god send rather than the average knackered old PA28.
Has anyone had any experience with the DA 40? If so what was it like? How are the operating costs? What are the real life TBR's and what have been all the problems associated with the AVTUR lump?
I have no DA40 flying experience but looked at it seriously in 2002 (it was advertised with avgas back then).
Starting from brand new, and setting engine problems aside, I'd guess the ex-fuel operating costs would be comparable to something like a new TB20 i.e. pretty low for a number of years. The fuel bill would of course be much smaller.
The thing which I would query in particular would be warranty work arrangements for work away from the dealer. Obviously if AOG then one has no choice, but you don't want to fly it back to Gamston for everything.
Another thing is that if the plane has particularly troublesome components (the engine is one known thing but they may have genuinely sorted it out by the time you get yours - or they might have produced some new operating guidelines) these are likely to surface well before the warranty runs out, and in such a situation you have a very strong legal case for effectively extending the warranty for extra years, on those items. I have such a pseudo-warranty on certain avionics...
The above are the negative things I'd look for. The aircraft itself will fly just fine, I am sure
Interestingly, Diamond isn't providing any real training for the DA-42 except cockpit familiarisation - I hate to say it but I predict a few 'aviate, navigate, communicate' accidents in the making..
Diamond are already running courses on the "42" the first one started on the 4th on this month see Here .
The course consists of:-
Day 1: Theory on DA42 Twin Star Aircraft Systems
Day 2: Theory on Garmin 1000 (pilots of the DA40-180 G1000 can attend this training module as well)
Days 3 - 5: Practical training on the aircraft, 3 to 5 hours per pilot.
The 42 is not a difficult aircraft to understand, Quite simple in fact. The Nav. system in the Garmin 1000 has been designed to be same in operation as the 430/530 series.
The DA 40 is a very simple aircraft to operate and very easy to fly with the 42 being the next logical step up so to speak. Anyone with half an idea and the appropriate training should make the transition to this aircraft a breeze.
Point taken - I stand corrected. Of course the DA-42 isn't complicated, but it's not an Aztec - methinks the G1000 will be the main issue - how many technology savvy pilots do you know? In my opinion, customers will need at least a couple days ground school on the G1000 - it's practically as capable as an Airbus system (no FD/VNAV obviously), and one day of training will probably only scratch the surface.
Imagine flying a relatively unfamiliar glass cockpit twin engine aircraft in IFR, bumping around while trying to set up the G1000 - I don't fancy it without solid training (at least 3-5 days on the G1000 alone). Certainly IFR pilots might find it more difficult then the steam gauge equivalent.
Actually I think that most of the pilots I know are real gadget happy guys, and the more bells & whistles something has the better - and not just of my generation & younger either.
Incidentally, It was interesting reading one of the incident reports on the Thiert website for a 172 where the pilot states he 'turned off one of the electronic systems and the engine stopped'. I seem to remember that on the demo flight I had in the DA40Tdi the electrical system was turned completely off (no power) and the engine kept on running normally, because it was something that we asked about, ie.-what happens if you get an electrical failure.....so what went on there then?