Hello Forum. I have placed my order for a DA42 and been promised delivery by August this year, so with normal delays and paperwork hiccups, I should be legal to fly by October at the latest. I have also decided to accompany the ferry pilot from Vienna to Thailand as this will be a great way to get familiar with the aircraft.
The bad news is that since placing the order, I am hearing some pretty dire reports about the general reliability of this aircraft. What I have heard so far is:-
To much reliance on the battery to run the engines. (I know this has been partiality addressed since the infamous landing gear crash.)
Poor cooperation between the engine manufacturer and Diamond.
Poor availability of spares.
Swap out of gearboxes at 300 hrs
Swap out of Engines at 1,000 hrs
I got most of the above from two different UK companies who between them own 5 DA42s, and who told me that they could not recommend it at all. They have owned the aircraft for two years, so clearly these are older versions with the 1.7L engine, not the newer 2.0. I am willing to believe that any new design will have teething problems which over time get resolved, but I would really like to hear from current owners about what their experiences have been so far.
On paper this aircraft looks great for what I want, but I am worried I may end up with an unreliable expensive aircraft.
If you own a DA42, I would like to hear from you. Please also include how many hours you already have on the aircraft.
I do not own a DA42, but had dinner last night with a friend who does. He said that support for any engine problems has been very poor. It has gotten so bad that Diamond has announced that they will build their own engines in the future. There was a very good article about the situation in Aviation Consumer, suggest that you give that a read. They did a survey of Thielert engine owners (in all aircraft), and a summary of that survey was:
[quote=“Aviation Consumer”]What emerged was a sharp-edged dichotomy. On the one hand, owners seem to love the Diamond airframes and generally give the company praise for customer support. And every owner we communicated with seems enthralled with the idea of economical diesel power. But the majority told us they found the reality of diesel reliability to be a disappointment.
Diamond CEO said that they know of 22 in flight stoppages…
22 ?? Blimey !! I don’t wan’t that shit!!
The DA42 is ugly, slow (they promised 200kts but 150kts is more like it), and the engine’s are really really bad. I doubt they can fix all that in the 2.0, besides, even with the 2.0 version: if you have an complete electrical faillure, your engines are BOTH gone… i don’t like that feeling. I rather like the old WWII design of dual magneto’s and everything else can fail but your engine will keep on running…
You’d think with a diesel that it would be rock solid and run forever even without electricity. I have an old Benz with 400,000 running strong and it’ll keep chugging away with out an alternator or battery. I guess its the whole FADEC thing. I suppose if its reliable enough for turbine aircraft, you’d think they’d manage to get it working for a piston.
I can tell you though that she does run beautifully on a single engine.
You just need to take the photo either with the largest aperture (lowest f-stop) your lens can do and/or in the brightest light possible. The combination will let you have a really low exposure time so there’s no blur. Minimal/no zoom helps get a lower f stop too if you’ve got your camera on auto.
I understand that is being fixed very quickly with the addition of a back-up battery which allows the flight to continue even with both alternators failing. The only case where the engines failed when both alternators failed was in a plane which had a completely dead battery, which they jump started, and then had an alternator failure. You should not fly any airplane, even with dual magnetos, with a dead battery, as an alternator failure in most singles (which only have one alternator) will leave you with no electronics. (The engine will keep running.)