Austria's Diamond Aircraft Industries is evaluating the market for a Textron Lycoming-powered version of its DA42 Twin Star as it heads toward European certification of the four-seat diesel twin in April.

"We will make a decision in September on whether to proceed with the Lycoming version," says Diamond Aircraft managing director Michael Feinig. The company, based in Weiner Neustadt near Vienna, says the 180hp (135kW) Lycoming IO 360-powered aircraft would be targeted at the US ab initio training market, which is accustomed to traditional engine controls and opposed to the single lever of the FADEC-equipped Theilert Centurion 1.7-powered Twin Star. Diamond has installed the Lycoming engines on a proof-of-concept Twin Star, but the company will not offer the variant until it has received at least 50 orders.

"We have had a great response to the Twin Star in the USA from both the training and private flyer markets," Feinig says. If a niche exists in the twin trainer market, Diamond aims to fill it. US approval is due in the fourth quarter.

Diamond has clinched 262 orders for the $360,000 DA42 Twin Star and says production is sold out until September 2006. Meanwhile, the company has recorded 235 aircraft deliveries for 2003 from its bases in London in Ontario, Canada and Weiner Neustadt, namely: 12 HK36 Super Dimonas; 15 DA20s; 57 DA20-C1s; 91 DA40-180s and 60 DA40 TDIs. Around 350 shipments are planned this year.

Source: Flight International