I'd love a DA40, but is there one with enough useful load?

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Noah
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I'd love a DA40, but is there one with enough useful load?

Postby Noah » Fri Dec 11, 2015 9:58 pm

I'm a new pilot and I've been searching for the right plane on and off for about 8 months. And I really, really like the DA40. However, I don't think the useful load will fit my mission. Can DA40 experts shine some light on this?

My kids got tall quick, so our family of 4 is about the same weight (including clothes and accessories): 170lbs X 4 = 680lbs

We'd fly between LA area and Las Vegas (around 200 miles): 120kts, 2:45hrs (including 45min reserve) 10 Gallons per hour = 30 Gallons (Rounded Up)

180 lbs + 680 = 860lbs

According to the Diamond Website the XLS would theoretically work... though I can't find one on the market with 860lbs of useful load. The DA40CS, seems to have more useful load, is there a real configuration that works?

Thank You!

P.S. I'd like the price to be under 300k, and have the G1000/GFC700/WAAS.
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rwtucker
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Re: I'd love a DA40, but is there one with enough useful load?

Postby rwtucker » Fri Dec 11, 2015 11:08 pm

Hi Noah,

Welcome to DAN!

I have to drop fuel whenever I carry four passengers.

There is nothing wrong with your calculations but they are close to worst case planning. In fact, you have room for the kids to grow. With an XLS you will burn less than 10 GPH and travel faster than 120 kts/hr. Additionally, you can fly LOP and probably still exceed 120 kts/hr at 7-8 GPH (at altitude I get better than that but it might not be worth the climb, etc. for that route). Even rounding up from more typical numbers, 25 gallons is sufficient -- and legal -- for that VFR flight.

As for price, I reset my insurance hull value for my XLS each year. This year, it was $260K, mostly because of my low TTAF. You can find some XLS in great condition for less than that. December 2007 was the inflection point for the most important XLS features. On the other hand, there are older models that have higher payloads and no aft CG issues. They are not likely to have the GFC700 and may not have the G1000.
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Re: I'd love a DA40, but is there one with enough useful load?

Postby Antoine » Fri Dec 11, 2015 11:26 pm

Hello Noah and welcome. We are kind of bumping each other at the "DA40 entrance door", you in - me out.
If your mission is 200 NM, then your flight time is closer to 1:30 (at 140 KTAS burning 9 GPH.)
You should fly high (the DA40 is a great climber) and enjoy the much better efficiency and smoother air up around 9-10'000 ft. The engine runs MUCH better there.
Expect an average climb rate of maybe 700 ft/min to 9'000 ft, so you can do the math.
If this is your first plane, search no further: A DA40 with GFC700, TAS and WAAS will take you a loooong way, fast enough and safer than anything else.
Blue skies!
When buying an XLS, don't forget to ask for TAS. It became optional from model year 2008 whereas it was standard equipment in the XL. This is a life saver - ask me how I know!
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Re: I'd love a DA40, but is there one with enough useful load?

Postby Noah » Fri Dec 11, 2015 11:41 pm

Thank you for the great replies! I will recalculate.... and I have to know. How was TAS a life saver? :)
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Re: I'd love a DA40, but is there one with enough useful load?

Postby Colin » Sat Dec 12, 2015 1:46 am

Noah,

I have flown that route a few times.

http://flyingsummers.com/2006/09/16/milkrun/

That's one of the reasons I bought the plane. It was fantastic for it.
Colin Summers, PP Multi-Engine IFR, ~2,300hrs
colin@mightycheese.com
http://www.flyingsummers.com
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agmolnar
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Re: I'd love a DA40, but is there one with enough useful load?

Postby agmolnar » Sun Dec 13, 2015 1:26 am

Hi Noah,

I faced a similar decision about a year ago, when I bought my 2007 DA40 for my family of four, albeit my kids are lighter than that but still growing.

In early 2007, Diamond made a handful (fewer than 100) of "hybrid" planes -- these are DA40s but with the GFC700. Later in 2007, they introduced the XL and then the XLS after that. The advantage of these hybrids (to me) was that they have great useful loads. I swapped the prop on mine to a Hartzell composite and I now have useful load of 920 lbs. This allowed me to have the features I really wanted (50g tank, GFC700 - a must have, for me -, useful load) and trade off on the items that were not as important to me (WAAS - California flying rarely needs it -, TAS). You can pick up a used hybrid for somewhere in the $150-180k range.

Most XL and XLS planes have useful loads closer to the mid-800s, since by the time you have TAS, electric pedals, and some other creature comforts, you end up with a bit of a weight penalty.

Also, watch the weight & balance carefully. With that much weight in the back seat, you'll be needing the 40g tanks, which have a much large aft CG envelope. I opted for the 50g tanks since range was important. This past summer, we had the kids, the small dog, and luggage and easily made it the 700NM non-stop to northwest Montana, with about 9-10 gallons left when we landed (good tailwind). The plane absolutely sips fuel at 9,000-11,000 ft, which is where I regularly fly it. About 7-8 gph.

For years, I was looking at either an SR20 or a C182. But the combination of fuel efficiency, useful load, safety, and speed made the DA40 a no-brainer. Having said that, if you are looking for an SUV, I would opt for the C182...but you get the tradeoffs too -- burns more fuel, slower, etc... I'm not sure my DA40 will make it until the kids are 170 lbs each!

Good luck with your search,
Arpad
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Re: I'd love a DA40, but is there one with enough useful load?

Postby Lou » Sun Dec 13, 2015 4:26 pm

Hi Noah - I just bought my 2008 DA40 XLS a couple of months ago. I studied performance and useful load for practically every GA aircraft inside out and backwards and forwards from every different angle. I concluded that if you really want payload, buy a C182 or a Cherokee 6. Fine pickup trucks both. But who wants to fly a pickup truck? My 4 kids are older, however, so I changed the mission: this one is for Mom and Dad. Have fun. :)
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Re: I'd love a DA40, but is there one with enough useful load?

Postby rwtucker » Sun Dec 13, 2015 5:55 pm

Lou wrote:I concluded that if you really want payload, buy a C182 or a Cherokee 6 . . .
A PA28-201T is also a nice aircraft with a serious payload for its size and weight.
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Re: I'd love a DA40, but is there one with enough useful load?

Postby Charbie » Sun Dec 13, 2015 11:32 pm

just to be crystal clear, the 50 gallon (long range fuel tank version) will not work (with four x 170 pound people) due to C of G issues. The gyronimo app for the ipad is excellent for playing around with different weight configurations to see the effect on both the standard and long range tank versions. good luck!
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Re: I'd love a DA40, but is there one with enough useful load?

Postby rwtucker » Mon Dec 14, 2015 12:05 am

Charbie wrote:just to be crystal clear, the 50 gallon (long range fuel tank version) will not work (with four x 170 pound people) due to C of G issues.
Sadly, true if you have an evenly distributed 4 x 170. However, there are combinations of fuel and a 680 lb. or below passenger load that get you inside the CG limits. With spouses in the back I fly four adults inside the CG, typically with 25-35 gallons, AKA 2-3.5 hours plus reserves. If it is important enough to create a bigger margin, you can move some equipment around and/or add the nose weight kit.

I have a DA-40 W&B spreadsheet configured for the G1000, GFC700, MT, PF Exhaust, and 50 gallon tanks if anyone wants a copy.

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