Diamond Aircraft revealed the latest version of its much-awaited D-Jet at EAA AirVenture, and issued a brief update on the single-engine jet’s progress according to AOPA.
Most evident are the D-Jet’s redesigned winglets. Gone are the original winglets, which were of a conventional vertical-sail design. The new winglets are subtler in appearance and are more closely blended into the wingtip. According to a spokesman, the new winglets provide several benefits. Flight tests showed that they yield less drag than the original design, and therefore reduce fuel consumption. They also improve aerodynamic behavior at the stall. There is less rolloff at the stall, and lateral and directional stability is also improved, the company said.
Other changes include a switch from a hydraulically actuated landing gear system to an electro-mechanical design with smaller landing gear doors. Additionally, the D-Jet has been fitted with a stick pusher to provide a greater margin of protection against an aerodynamic stall. Earlier D-Jet prototypes had no stick shakers and relied on aerodynamic buffet to warn pilots of an impending stall.
Airline Transport Professionals (ATP) purchased 20 of the Diamond D-Jets to give flight training students enrolled in ATP’s Airline Career Pilot Program (ACPP) cross-country jet experience and has been given an exclusive contract by Diamond Aircraft to provide initial training and type-ratings in in the D-Jet.
ATP currently provides more pilots to the regional airlines than any other single flight school, college, or academy. With the D-JET, ATP will even better prepare Airline Career Pilot Program students for the regional airlines by supplementing their nationwide multi-engine experience with jet experience flying in a crew environment between ATP’s nationwide training centers. Already ATP has experience training students in a Cessna CitationJet for a jet aircraft introductory flight that included high altitude and high performance endorsements. Operating efficiencies of the D-JET will allow ATP to increase the amount of jet experience, highly valued by the regional airlines, provided to Airline Career Pilot Program students. ATP has always differentiated itself from other flight schools by flying mostly multi-engine aircraft. The D-JET will further differentiate ATP with the addition of jet aircraft to the training fleet.
In all, the D-Jet has accumulated more than 530 hours of flight tests, spread among three different airplanes. The program experienced a series of delays owing to the recession of 2008 and its aftereffects, but the company now says that certification is expected by the first quarter of 2014.