DIAMOND AIRCRAFT has delivered its first DA20 Katana trainer to Central Missouri State University. The London, Ontario-based manufacturer says that it has firm orders for 121 of the all-composite two-seaters, the majority from US flight schools.

Diamond has so far delivered 11 Canadian-built DA20s and operates a demonstrator fleet of 26 Katanas - five DA20s, plus 21 earlier Austrian-built DV20s - which it provides to potential customers on a one-month "try-me" basis, says vice-president of marketing and sales, Earl Boyter.

The company plans to build 145 aircraft this year, with production stabilising at 22 a month from November. The $98,500 Rotax-powered, Katana is approved for day visual-flight-rules (VFR) operations, with night-VFR certification expected this month, Boyter says.

The Diamond Flight Center concept will be unveiled at the US National Air Transport Association show in New Orleans in May, he says. Approved centres will be equipped with simulators and computer-based training and tracking systems developed by Diamond to support the Katana.

Source: Flight International