Austrian airframer Diamond Aircraft says it is on target to secure preliminary certification for its DA52-VII piston twin later this year, but will not begin its marketing push for the seven-seat aircraft until 2015, when it expects to secure full approval for the Austro AE300-powered type.

Full validation covers the aircraft’s radar, anti-icing and air conditioning systems.

"We are working hard to meet our European certification targets and plan to deliver the first batch of aircraft next year," says Diamond chief executive Christian Dries.

The DA52 sits at the top of Diamond’s piston-engined line and will be targeted at owner flyers and commercial operators. "It will make an ideal aircraft for the air taxi market with its seven seats, big, comfortable cabin and ample baggage area," Dries says. The DA52 has a cruise speed of 190kt (352km/h) and a range of 1,240nm (2,300km).

"The DA52 is a step-up for Cirrus [SR20/22] owners, as well as operators of old Beechcraft Barons and Cessna 400-series. I know what I’m talking about, as I’ve owned four Barons and three 400’s over the years," says Dries.

To drum up sales of the DA52, Diamond plans to exhibit at leading business and general aviation industry shows next year, including Aero in Friedrichshafen, Germany.