Posts Tagged ‘Diamond’

Diamond Aircraft (Canada) and diesel company on the mend

Friday, May 17th, 2013

Not long ago Diamond’s plant in Canada laid off all but 51 workers. That 51st employee was there to oversee the paperwork on the Diamond D-Jet. At the time I was told that there were still partially completed airframes on the line, and when those were delivered as new aircraft, employees would be called back. Now 34 workers have returned, including those needed to lay up more composite airframes. Through all this the Diamond headquarters in Austria has operated normally. A Diamond plant in China continues to churn out 30 to 40 four-passenger DA40 aircraft a year to be delivered in Asia, at this point meaning China. That plant has never built a gasoline-powered model, putting a Thielert diesel engine on the very first one. Only now is the plant transitioning to Austro diesel engines, the engine Diamond turned to when Thielert hit financial and mechanical problems (now solved). Thielert, with its Centurion marketing and warranty arm, is on the verge of emerging from bankruptcy–meaning someone is going to buy it. Whoever does that will suddenly have a family of diesel engines, right up to a 350-hp certified but undeveloped engine.  There are already negotiations in progress which the company can’t disclose. The financial questions that led to Frank Thielert leaving the company will be resolved soon, too, by a German court. Thielert engines have one problem–time between replacement. That means you trash the engine (destructive testing is the nicer phrase) when it reaches 1,500 hours rather than overhaul it. Overhaul might be offered in the future by the new owner. Purchasing the engine is still economical if you happen to live in Europe where avgas is $12.58 or in Niger where it is $22 a gallon. Diesel engines cost 30 percent more but you save 24 to 35 percent on fuel–a good deal for those flying 500 hours a year.