How comfortable/roomy is the interior of a DA42? For front and back?
How comfortable/roomy is the interior of a DA42? For front and back?
I have about 200 hours in my TS…and this is what I have found:
The Pilot’s seat has nice leg room for me at 6’2" and 200lbs. I like the adjustable pedals, which is a great benefit. The back seat is decent, I sat back there while a couple of my friends flew with me on a cross country trip (both pilots). After 2 hours of being back there it wasn’t that bad.
However…if you have two broad shouldered guys up front, you are not going to be comfortable. The main problem in the TS is lack of width.
The other problem I have is the real lack of arm rests. I tend to sit with my hands in my lap a lot…kind of like Kindergarten.
Hope this helps.
Would this be a solution for you http://www.aviationdesign.com/armrests.html sirjohnathon??
No real place to put them based on the “door” being a canopy.
I actually love the arm rest in my Columbia. Hope Cessna doesn’t decide to make it out of pop-riveted aluminum.
Flew the Columbia 400 yesterday and only two words: WOW and unbelievable. Flies like a dream and very comfortable. Love the armrests and seats. Very roomy up front but probably cosy in the back for two.
How does the interior size of the DA42 and Columbia 400 compare. One of those planes is probably in my future.
For the front seat, the Columbia is way more comfortable…no comparison. I also like the side stick much better, but for a stupid reason maybe. On the center stick, anytime I would lay my charts down I always would kick the autopilot off.
I agree the back may be a little tighter in the Columbia, but only if you have the front seats all the way back. I had two guys fly with me tonight from Niagra Falls to Knoxville…both are about 5’10" guys, so I figured it might be tight. However, neither of them complained at all. Me being 6’2", if I had to put someone behind me they would have been miserable. Columbia could have solved this by making adjustable rudder pedals, but for some reason they failed to call me prior to building the plane.
So here is what I would say:
Columbia 5 Stars
Diamond 2 Stars (good legroom, terrible shoulder room)
Rear Seats with short people up front
Columbia 3.5 Stars
Diamond 4 Stars
Rear Seats with tall people up front
Columbia 1 Star
Diamond 4 Stars
In case anyone is wondering about other comparisons…TAS versus economy is what it comes down to, unless you are just crazy about building twin time.
TAS vs. Fuel Flow (10,000 feet)
Columbia @65% 175kts TAS with Fuel at 16.8gph
Twinstar @85% 145kts TAS with Fuel at 12gph total (6 per side)
In a nutshell…I have the Columbia for cross country speed…the TS is for building twin time to get me into a VLJ (comments from the peanut gallery not solicited).
I would choose the mooney over the columbia everytime!!
You could have never guess that with your avatar. Mooney’s are good, I agree.
The things i don’t like about the columbia :
(besides that they are broke)
- no good de-icing
- no RG
- sidestick (it’s the future i know, but i don’t like it, i’m scared i will do the wrong moves in emergency’s, it’s unnatural for me)
What is the Columbia TAS & fuel burn at 10,000 at 85% power?
As I try to nail down what my mission will “really” be and look at longer trips, ie 400 miles, it seems that the flying time difference is not great. Even a 1900 mile trip to Telluride from Ocala is about 9 hours vs 11.3 hours. Various 400 mile trips will be 1.9 hours vs 2.4 hours (30 minutes).
Doesn’t seem to be a really big difference in the two time wise. What is the big advantage in your mind of one over the other. Is it the time or front seat comfort?
(Seems at least 65% of my flights will be within 400 miles and 30% over water or mountains.)
In the 400, I typically true out at about 190 kts at 10,000’ running lean of peak at 17gph. In a 350 I’m not sure, but I suspect it will be a fairly small difference from the DA-42.
IMHO, the big difference has got to be the second engine. In the DA42, when an engine stops, you don’t. In a C400 or C350, you land… soon. But that’s not the important part - these engines are extremely reliable.
Pick ten non-pilot friends. Call five of them, and ask if they want to go with you on a 500 mile trip in your ‘brand new all composite single engine airplane.’ Then call the other five, and ask if they want to come with you to the same destination in your ‘brand new all composite twin engine airplane.’
Then ask yourself how much of your mission involves having friends/spouse/family flying with you, and whether they are going to be comfortable.
As for the capabilities, the Columbia 400 has a much greater altitude capability than the DA42. In the DA42, 18,000’ is the max, and the engines are going to be putting out less power, so it will actually be slower than at 14,000’. The C400 is producing full power through 18,000’, and you can go to 25,000’ and catch some serious tailwinds going East. I also like altitude in a single because if it becomes a zero engine airplane, you have time and choices, but, of course, that’s not a concern with a twin. But altitude is also good when flying over weather.
Then there is the question of stuff. The cabin baggage areas of both planes are pretty comparable. The baggage space in the C400 is a bit easier to access. But the DA42 also has nose storage. So when flying with four people, you’ll have to watch the weight in either plane, but you’ll have a lot more physical space to put bags in the '42.
Can’t compare airplanes without discussing range, and I think this is a much more involved question than most people realize. If you have a four hour bladder, and you are going on an 800 mile flight, the C400 will probably get you there within bladder capacity. The '42 will require a ‘bladder stop’ at 650 miles, and you’ll have an hour’s flight left. When all is said and done, and compensating for climb, etc. the trip will be 1.75 hours longer, or 43%. If you have a two hour bladder, the difference will be even more substantial, but someone probably makes a pill for that.
Of course, there is the ever-important question of which one is more fun to fly. The Columbia wins this hands-down.
Economy is another factor. I haven’t actually seen any evidence that Jet A is cheaper than 100LL. They seem to be pretty close to one another in cost. But today each of them costs about $4.25/gallon. The C400 burns a ton in climb, and then 17 gph in cruise. A typical 100-mile trip is 22 gallons round-trip.
The '42 uses lots less fuel in climb, and cruises on 12 gph. The same round-trip burns 15 gallons. 31% less, or $30. Not a huge savings, but next year, when gas is $5.25, and in 2009 when gas is $6.25, these differences will become more substantial. Why do I care? Because 30% of my total operating costs with the Columbia 400 are fuel, and 65% of the ‘incremental cost per hour’ is fuel.
Thanks for your nice post vositis, tell me do you have CG problems in the Columbia ?
Thanks for the great and informative replies. I especially appreciate the information from you guys who are flying these particular planes.
There was another great option that I did not put in this mix which I had considered earlier and decided to put into the comparison list and that is the DA50 Superstar. After comparing the 3 planes, the DA50 is the best choice for me. Listed below is a comparison of the things imoportant to me that may be of use to others.
…DA50… DA42… Columbia
Full power at 18,000…yes…no… yes
Speed at 7500… 200…140…180
Speed at 10000… 200…170… 190
Speed at 18000… 200… n/a… 205
Front seat comfort… A…B… A
Rear seat comfort… A+…B… B-
De-icing… Yes…Yes… Yes?
Garmin G1000… *Yes…Yes… Yes **
Twin Engines…no… yes…no
Cabin width… 52"…49"…49"
My choice is clearly the Superstar. Additional features that are important is my relationship with Diamond and the very positive experience I have had with them and my familarity with flying a Diamond. Also, I really like the FADEC because it further reduces cockpit workload.
The only other feature that none of these have is Pressurization.
Thanks again for taking time to respond.
Wow…I am totally impressed with Vositis’ responce. And, I have to totally agree. That is about one of the best comparison’s I have ever read. Again, I own and fly both planes and couldn’t have written it better myself.
Here is what I can tell you from my experience with the twin engines of a Twinstar…a wise man on this board once said that 2 engines means twice as likely to have an engine failure. When you combine a new engine technology, with a new technology like FADEC, I have to agree with him. I won’t go into details on a public post, but don’t put too much weight on the fact that 2 engines are all that much safer.
As for the CG issue, I have always been able to keep within limits with a strategically placed flight bag and briefcase in either plane. For the most part, none of them are going to give you the ability to put 3 friends on board and go 500 miles.
As for the icing, I have been in some pretty crappy stuff in my TS running the TKS. My basic advice, use it to get out, don’t use it to fly in. This goes for the same system on any plane, however composites are particular because they do not build up any surface friction to help heat the ice off. Bottom line…“STAY OUT OF ICE”
Scott, it sounds like your mission is similar to mine. 90% of my flights are approximately 400nm with about 40% of my time in mountains. If it helps, I always prefer the Columbia. Why? Two reasons…the Columbia is much more fun to fly, and 30 minutes is worth a ton of money to me. Once I get my hours built to upgrade to a reliable VLJ or Socata I will…for me time is money.
As for the “Super Star”, it all comes down to availability. I think they are going to be hard to get your hands on, and again, although I love the idea of FADEC, my personal experience makes me want to stick with proven technology until some of the bugs get worked out. This is a BIG concern of mine when you only have a single spinner. Also, I would be very skeptical of the speed. I would be willing to go ahead and place an advance bet that the Columbia will beat the SS at all flight levels.
Again, hope it helps. If you want to talk live, send me a PM.
Sorry for the delay, but for some reason I couldn’t log in for a few days…
No, I don’t. I have heard grumblings of people having to put ballast in the back for two “Americans” to fly up front, but I know a lot of Columbia owners and I don’t actually KNOW anyone who has this problem, so I suspect it is a red herring.
The Columbia W&B seems to be set up so that two “Americans” up front put you at the front edge of the W&B envelope. Everything else moves the W&B back. The end result is that it’s hard to get it too far back, and practically impossible to get it too far forward.
If two “Americans” did not put you at the front of the W&B envelope, you would end up in a situation where any W&B area ahead of it is unusable, so you would have a very small envelope to work with.
As for the question of a DA50. This will be a fantastic airplane, but it doesn’t exist right now, and the one they displayed at Oshkosh was a mockup at best. This was a DA50 fuselage with the outboard wings of a DA42. Diamond has the good sense to re-use parts and designs, but this was a very rough marketing prototype, and a real one won’t be certified in the US until at least 2010 according to Diamond.
Another thing I want to point out, and I am going to say this out loud in the hope that Diamond is listening, is that FADEC is designed to protect the engine, not the passengers. Great in a twin, where if the engine stops, you have another one. Not so good in a single, where a 20 cent sensor problem could turn you into a glider.
A friend of mine is alive today because he lost a turbo over the mountiains last month. The failure pumped the oil out of the engine in less than a minute. But with managing the engine, he produced enough power to keep him aloft for five more minutes until he could get within glide of an airport. Would a FADEC engine have kept him flying?
That said, I have a deposit down on a DA50, because I trust Diamond and the FAA/JAA to think this through. But they have to convince me that until I turn it off, that computer will keep that engine running no matter what happens.
BTW, I have heard unsubstantiated rumors that Diamond is trying to pressurize the DA50. If they do this, the game is over, and not only will practically every single Columbia 400 and Turbo Cirrus and Mooney owner upgrade, so will many VLJ/Turboprop customers to use for shorter trips.
I saw the DA50 mockup at Oshkosh as well and agree that it will be the front-runner if it meets the specs they described. However it is a paper airplane right now. While Diamond has a track record of going from concept to certified aircraft faster than most, I agree that it won’t likely be available in any real numbers until 2010 if all goes well. Even without pressurization it would be in my top three piston aircraft.
My choice is clearly the Superstar
My dear flying friends…
FORGET ABOUT THE PERFORMANCE NUMBERS OF THE DA-50
IT AIN’T GONNA HAPPEN!! Diamond has ALWAYS ALWAYS produced in early stage much more higher numbers then they end up in reality!! Same goes over here with the DA50, i sat in the DA50 at Friedrichshafen, this is again a typical diamond plane: BADLY FINISHED!!!
So here are the only published specifications that I’ve seen for the DA50. Perhaps you can tell us definitively which ones “AIN’T GONNA HAPPEN!!” (BTW, Diamond even says that these are subject to change without notice, so they are not exactly casting them in concrete).
Engine: Teledyne Continental TSIOF-550J (350 hp)
Propeller: 3 or 4 blade constant speed propeller (TBD)
Dimensions / Weights
Length: 28 ft 11 in
Height: 7 ft 3 in
Wing Span: 38 ft 4 in
Wing Area: 148 sq ft
Empty Weight: 2,200 Ibs
Max. Take-off Weight (MTOW): 3,560 lbs
Fuel Capacity: 74 US gal (standard tanks)
Cabin Width: 52"
Sorry to spoil your dreams, i give you an example:
Diamond were saying that the DA-42 would cruise in excess of 200kts (203 exactly) during its development when hull number 01 was flying…but in reality 150kts is more accurate… hahaha 50kts difference ? My god!!! What were they thinking ??
First, Mooney is not and will not be one of my choices which is why I didn’t even mention it in my thread. Not interested.
I too secured a position, Vositis. I have asked about the pressurization and they don’t want to talk about it yet.
Regarding dates, Diamond has decided to place the first 50 planes in flight schools in order to uncover and solve the bugs before introducing to general market. I have to respect this decision as sound and safe. I understand that they will have those planes out sometime in mid 2008 and others for the general market out in 2009.
CAFlier what are your other two favorites?
Vostis, what is your background in flying? You have really good technical info.