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DA42 Austro engines - another aircraft being retrofitted

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DA42 Austro engines - another aircraft being retrofitted

Old 5th Oct 2009, 20:53
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DA42 Austro engines - another aircraft being retrofitted

Heard a few rumours about a Twinstar being taken apart and loaded onto a low loader at a local airfield, so popped down for a look... Turns out that it's HGFC's original DA42, G-FCAB, which is being transported down to Austria to get the new Austro Engines AE300 lumps. Looking through the mags it sounds like a useful upgrade - more power, less fuel burn at sensible speeds, and should be more robust than Thielert POS! Might even have to think about getting a go for next year's ME-IR renewal to see what they're really like, after doing all my training in a Thielert equipped 42. Flight Centre staff told me the aircraft's expected back in 5-6 weeks with the new engines, vortex generators as per the NG DA42, and some software upgrades to the G1000 EFIS - sounds interesting.



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Old 7th Oct 2009, 12:24
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That looks in better shape that the last DA-42 I saw on the back of a truck... G-SUEA !!.
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Old 7th Oct 2009, 13:14
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It should be in good condition! its hardly been used!!!

A real poor show from Diamond!
I am amazed that it never put more companies out of business, I know our school looked at the engines early days for the PA28's and nearly took the leap! I still have a job and am very glad they did not bother!
Hope the new motors are as good as they look and sound on paper.

Are they offering any kind of customer service on the new motors?
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Old 7th Oct 2009, 16:13
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That looks in better shape that the last DA-42 I saw on the back of a truck... G-SUEA !!.
What happened to G-SUEA? Do tell please!

I completed my IR checkride in her, hate to think she might be in bits 'n pieces.
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Old 7th Oct 2009, 20:07
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SUEA's the one that got piled in at Land's End, using wet grass in rather unfavourable conditions... AAIB report is available to stop me commenting further! AFAIK FCAB did the full 1050 hours until the existing Thielerts were grounded, so not an insignificant amount of hours to fly in well under 3 years CPL/IR training.

RE Thielert PA28s: I did my FI rating on them, and do a fair amount of work with some at the moment. They are rather fragile, good maintenance is absolutely vital, as is a good installation. As training tools they are actually quite good for teaching the basics on - I've no doubt that FADEC and SLPC is the way that PPL training will go in the future. Just annoying that basic faults get repeated so often in the design process!

Does sound like Diamond are doing a good deal for FCAB's owners - far better than Thielert would ever have done, so maybe salvaging something from the wreckage? They certainly can't afford to have a disaster with the Austro Engines, that'll close them down permanently!
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Old 7th Oct 2009, 22:41
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Thanks for the info, just read the AAIB report.

Like the last line, "the pilot stated that it was the wrong decision to attempt a takeoff at all and concluded that he would not be operating a DA-42 from a wet grass surface again."

I always took off and landed on runway 22 with the Twinstars at Stapleford - two thirds of which is hard surfaced anyway.

Just sad really, it was a lovely aircraft. Still have a picture of her in my study...
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Old 7th Oct 2009, 23:12
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Now can I ask the obvious, why wasn't said a/c flown to Austria for the mods ?. Not exactly a trip the DA-42 couldn't handle.

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Old 8th Oct 2009, 06:19
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I'm thinking the CAA wouldn't issue a permit to fly? Out of hours on many lifed parts and probably robbed for spares over the last year or so.
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Old 8th Oct 2009, 13:20
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Originally Posted by Cows getting bigger View Post
I'm thinking the CAA wouldn't issue a permit to fly? Out of hours on many lifed parts .
It was indeed because the engines were out of hours and the aeroplane had been standing a while. The engines were complete and running but although the CAA were happy for it to fly, the man from EASA said "NO!".
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Old 8th Oct 2009, 14:02
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A real poor show from Diamond!
Care to explain Just-local?
I don't think Diamond can be blamed in any way, shape or form for the Thielert situation.
I think it's pretty amazing they managed to design and certify a new engine (Austro) in the little time that they have, both EASA and FAA.
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Old 8th Oct 2009, 14:23
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Care to explain?

Yes!
It would seem the product is not really fit for purpose.
Schools/ private operators have purchased or worse on finance a very expensive aircraft which in many cases seems to have been flown out early due to low TBO of the engines (these were supposed to go to another 100% +) and many faults with fuel pumps, cluches, gearboxes etc.
What was supposed to be a super efficient aircraft with lower operating costs is either sat on the ground dead or very expensive due to the unforseen component changes which are now required.
I understand that the engines were not made by Diamond but its part of the product!
I don't know the aircraft mentioned here G-FCAB but ginfo puts its ARC expired on 15/11/08! It may have become unairworthy before this time?
A poster mentions 1050 flight hours, it is a Jan 2006 machine, these are reasnable hours for a uk flown machine but they have had no use of the asset for a long time and all that money sat dead!

Yes they have done well to get a new engine to this stage in such a short time, I hope it is the best thing since the 0-320, watch this space and your wallets!
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Old 8th Oct 2009, 15:41
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Agree, mostly.
It's not a first in the world of aviation that a product suffers because of a sub-contractor.
Lycoming crankshafts come to mind, entire fleets grounded.
AvioNG on the Eclipse jet, 50% certified for use.
And Thielert was supposed to get the engines certified for 2000hrs at some point, they just didn't manage it prior to the collapse.
But new engines were prorated if you reached 1000hrs, as in you only pay half the normal price.
So whether you run 2000 hrs and full price or 1000hrs and half price is 6 of one and half a dozen of the other.
Anyways let's hope that the Austro will turn out to be the magic bullet to really get the DA 42 going.
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Old 10th Oct 2009, 16:35
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JUST-local:

G-AB has proven to be a very reliable and effective aeroplane and, after a few teething problems (mostly water ingress into the ECUs), went on to do 1050 hours in a little over two years. It has proven to be nice to fly and has a much better CPL/IR pass rate than the Seneca that preceded it.

When Thielert ran into trouble mid-2008, this was at just about the worst possible time because the engines were approaching 1000 hours and were therefore due for replacement - but Thielert were no longer honouring the warranty! There was the choice of spending a lot of money on new Thielerts without any warranty at all (at that time) or parking the aeroplane and waiting for the new Austro Diesel to become available and leasing in replacement DA42s to ensure that training could continue.

A "strategic" decision was made, and the aeroplane was parked up whilst Diamond developed and certified the AE300 - although that did take longer than anticipated.

Diamond have been very co-operative with financing etc., by the way, and appear to have realised that although they were not to blame for the Thielert collapse, they did need to work to minimise the fallout.

If the promises for the AE300 come true then it will be a much more reliable and economical engine than the Thielert. If my memory serves correctly, the cost of parts used during scheduled maintenance should be about 90% lower than for a Thielert.
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Old 10th Oct 2009, 18:36
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There was the choice of spending a lot of money on new Thielerts without any warranty at all (at that time)
I believe one of your competitors did just that, and the new engine lasted not much over 3 hours before it suffered major damage...
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Old 15th Oct 2009, 17:28
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It arrived safe and sound and work should be starting very soon. With a bit of luck, there will be something about this in the next issue of "Loop".
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Old 2nd Nov 2009, 14:00
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There's a nice write up about the DA42 NG in the November issue of Loop and this particular aeroplane is pictured on page 35.
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Old 22nd Nov 2009, 18:08
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Ae300 Tbo?

At Dubai Airshow last week a Diamond salesman suggested that the new engines' TBO was 1,000hrs. Can this be correct? Is it only until experience has been gained with the unit on the DA42?
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Old 26th Nov 2009, 01:22
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I'll try to remember to find out for you tomorrow. However, off the top of my head, the warranty is for 1,000 hours but the expected TBO is 1,500+ hours.

As an aside, the aeroplane should be returning from Austria in the middle of next week.
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Old 26th Nov 2009, 03:01
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Don't overlook the IO-360 powered DA42-L360, it's a great option too, and a delightful plane to fly...



Don't let the fact it's not turning bother you, I had it shut down on purpose during a certification test...

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Old 30th Nov 2009, 14:32
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The newly re-engined Twinstar should be back tomorrow (1 Dec).

Originally Posted by Pilot DAR View Post
Don't overlook the IO-360 powered DA42-L360, it's a great option too, and a delightful plane to fly...
I'm sure it is - but a bit expensive on fuel for European tastes!
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