AUSTRIAN manufacturer HOAC has revealed plans to develop a new single-piston-engine four-seat aircraft aimed at the private and flying-school markets.

The aircraft, still in its conception stage, is expected to be an all-composite design. HOAC will draw on its experience gained in the design of its Diamond DA 20 Katana two-seat trainer.

Early specifications of the aircraft (given the working designation DA 40) include fixed landing gear, a cruise speed of 135kt (250km/h) and a flight endurance of 4-5h. The power plant has not yet been chosen, although HOAC says that at least two liquid-cooled options are being reviewed.

The aircraft will enter series production at the company's Diamond Aircraft Industries plant in Ontario, Canada, alongside the Katana production line.

It is hoped that the design will be complete by the end of this year, with the first flight of the prototype scheduled for mid-1996. Series production of the aircraft is expected to begin in early 1997.

According to HOAC director of sales and marketing Michael Feinig, the project comes as a result of market research by the company which has revealed a requirement, particularly among flying schools, for "...a new, low-cost four-seater, providing comfort above speed". He says that the potential market for the DA 40 worldwide is estimated to be 500 aircraft.

Feinig adds that the most important factor in finalising the design will be the emphasis on low cost. "Up to 40% of the design effort will be directed at keeping the purchase price down" - preferably to $120,000, he says.

Source: Flight International