Diamond Aircraft has selected Williams International's FJ33 turbofan to power its D-Jet very light personal jet, while selection of an avionics supplier is expected within weeks.

The Austrian manufacturer says the first 1,450lb-thrust (6.5kN) engine is scheduled for delivery in February. The FJ33 has also been selected by Adam Aircraft and Safire Aircraft to power their respective A700 and Safire Jet twins and is scheduled for certification at the end of this year.

The five-seat, all-composite D-Jet is now in its final design stage and construction of the first prototype is expected to begin later this month. "The first of three flight-test aircraft will make its debut at the Berlin air show next May," says Diamond Aircraft managing director Michael Feinig. "We are on target for first flight by November next year, with European Joint Aviation Regulation 23 certification planned for December 2005 and deliveries in 2006."

The D-Jet is Diamond's first foray into the jet market, and Feinig is confident the company will have secured around 500 orders by certification. With little marketing effort, "we have already received over 100 orders", he says, and much of the interest is coming from operators of single-engine turboprops and piston twins.

Production is set at 100 aircraft for 2006, ramping up to 200 aircraft a year thereafter. "We are building a 10,900m2 [117,330ft2] facility at our Weiner Neustadt base to house D-Jet and DA-42 Twinstar diesel-twin production of 400 aircraft combined. This should be completed in November," Feinig adds.

The D-Jet is projected to have a cruise speed of 315kt (580km/h) at its maximum altitude of 25,000ft (7,625m). The aircraft's maximum take off weight is 1,999kg (4,400lb). Feinig says this is to avoid Eurocontrol's en route navigation charges which are levied on all aircraft above 2,000kg.

Diamond is "very close" to selecting an avionics supplier for the D-Jet's glass cockpit, with Honeywell's Apex, Garmin's G1000 and Avidyne's Integra the contenders.

Source: Flight International