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Views on DA40

In my search of the market for a new aircraft I have come to the Diamond DA40.

I find that the Lycoming engine version may well suit me well, although there are few in Europe. In particular the G1000/GFC700 XL and XLS equipped aircraft have impressive field performance (355 metres or so takeoff to 50ft, and a 150 kt cruise). Unfortunately the Thielert engine version being 135 hp is not so good on the takeoff performance though comparable in the cruise at higher levels.

Does anyone have any experiences they can share?

Darley Moor, Gamston (UK)

Not with the XL, but I do agree that it seems a nice aircraft (except for the looks).

To be honest (please don’t be shocked…) if I were in the market today for a new light four seater, I cannot guarantee that would choose an SR20 over a DA40XL. At least I would thoroughly run the numbers before making any decisions. But probably, if I were to go for a Diamond, I would go for a used DA40 and install a Thielert 2.0s (155 hp) along with an STC for 1199kgs…

Last Edited by boscomantico at 20 Feb 14:47
Mainz (EDFZ), Germany

I used to rent one for a couple of years, with the 135 hp “old” thielert.

In summary – nice aircraft, not enough power. Not nearly.

More detail:

Flies nicely, great visibility, cabin a bit tight and throttle/trim wheel positions are a bit awkward in the narrow cabin as the trim wheel is where I would naturally rest my arm; and the power lever is in a place where it is easy to accidentally knock it… and the rear entrance door makes it very accessible for rear passengers or to chuck luggage into the back. Stick or not is a matter of taste.

FADEC engine – never had any problems.

For VFR, a great aircraft, but badly underpowered. You can land it in 300m, but have to sharpen the pencil to figure out if you can get out of 700m with 2POB in the summer. Don’t know of the 20HP from the newer Thielerts make enough of a difference here. Depending on where you fly from, that is not an issue, though.

For IFR, not that great. Climbs ok up to around FL100-FL120, where the turbocharger reaches its limit and power starts to drop, given low power in the first place that does not leave much room for climbing above the weather. The laminar flow wing is quite sensitive to contamination, so it does not carry ice well, and a relatively low wing loading means it is a bit of work in turbulence. Also, the one I flew had problems with static electricity build up in cloud.

Biggin Hill

The owners of the two based at Stapleford, one diesel, one Lycoming engined – always seem very happy with them.

If usage is an indicator the syndicates owning the Arrows, both slab and taper wing versions, seem to be the most active in terms of hours flown. Old skool, especially the slab wing version, but possibly more resilient going into muddy grass strips despite being an RG, and they do seem to be used in all conditions.

The DA40 is a more modern design, but how do they fare in average GA airfields?

Oxford (EGTK)

A couple I know well has a 2004 Lycoming-powered DA40 with G1000 panels. Its pretty fast and in particular climbs out very well. The weaknesses to my mind would be that the efficient high aspect ratio wing makes it slightly sluggish in roll, its feels like a sailplane in that way, and the ergonomics don’t work for everyone: I don’t have enough head room in front and the seats feel uncomfortable. Others fit OK.

Thanks for the info, guys.

Cobalt

20-Feb-14 13:41

#03



I used to rent one for a couple of years, with the 135 hp “old” thielert.

In summary – nice aircraft, not enough power. Not nearly

This is why I am looking at a Lycoming powered version. According to the figures the take off distance is about 350M vs about 600M for the diesel.

Post 2007 they have fitted the Powerflow exhaust, which gives about another 20hp as well.

Neil

Darley Moor, Gamston (UK)

Neil, I am the co-owner of a 2009er DA40XLS (Lycoming) w/ G1000 SVT and GFC700 and all of that stuff. I like the plane and can highly recommend it: while you are flying in the C172-class as far as costs are concerend, you are much faster and more comfortable and very well equipped with the DA40. Same as the C172 it is very very easy to fly, perfect plane also for beginners, aerodynamically precise at the same time. From my experience the DA40 is really good for travelling, with a good range, good speed, and all of that at pretty low costs. I use it for (light) IFR, too, totally no problem. FL130 is no problem, however, I mostly fly IFR between FL80-120.

I tried the 135HP Thielert, but for my personal feeling the Lycoming fits much better, not only when flying around MTOW.

With respect to the SR20: the SR20 is more expensive per hour. With the SR20 you are in a higher class than the DA40, let’s say C182 class, but not having the added values of the higher class. Short field performance of the SR20 is worse. And personally I prefer the G1000 rather than any other system.

What I dislike at the DA40 is the lack in cabin space in the front row for taller people; no TKS is available and no radar. That’s why I am about to upgrade to a DA42-vi pretty soon :).

Last Edited by Wolfipilot at 20 Feb 16:15

Thanks Wolfipilot. Presumably you are on the US register? I understand the late model Lycoming powered XLS airframes have to be ordered as an EASA airframe, and very very few have been. There are a few differences between FAA and EASA requirements particularly in HIRF screening, which cannot be retrofitted, so it is impossible to go on any EASA register.

Darley Moor, Gamston (UK)

Neil, yes I am. But I don’t see any negative aspect in being on the N register. I had the DA40 Star before, which was N reg. too, everything was easy going.

HIRF screening?

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Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom
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