Chapter 42 begins

Any DA42 related topics.

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Chris
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Chapter 42 begins

Post by Chris »

After much shopping and no small amount of angst, I recently took the plunge and purchased N449TS, a 2007 DA42 which was upgraded in 2016 to a DA42NG, with pretty much all of the available options. It was delivered from California to Portland just a couple of days before the end of 2020. I figure I'll use this thread to capture some of the experience of transitioning from a DA40 to DA42 and will try to include the not-so-great stuff as well as the good. I don't have an ME rating yet, so I've only been able to get a single flight in it with my CFII/MEI thus far.

Initial observations, the good stuff:
  • Starting is a dream compared to the DA40. Flip a couple of switches and turn the key. The engines start quickly and purr quietly. Very little cabin noise and virtually no vibration, as you'd expect from a Mercedes engine.
  • As pretty much everybody who has ever flown both models has observed, the DA42NG is heavy when compared with the DA40, so roll rates are slower and stick forces are much greater. The DA42 feels much more stable overall (good) but not nearly as nimble (sigh).
  • I can't imagine that there is an easier piston twin to fly. The various fuel pump switches are the only things that required much thought when coming from the DA40. FADEC is a dream compared to throttle/mixture/prop levers.
Some surprises:
  • The copilot side (Beringer STC) brakes were inop upon delivery, although the pilot side were working fine. The plane went through an annual inspection immediately before delivery, so I'm guessing the lines which run from the copilot to pilot side were simply not bled properly and they didn't catch it before the ferry pilot picked it up. No leaks detected, so hopefully it's a one-time thing.
  • I had no idea that the G1000 had ESP enabled. Since I didn't have any prior experience with ESP, the CFI and I were caught by surprise when I tried to do steep turns and felt the stick actively fighting me, trying to return the plane to 30 degrees of bank. It took a bit to figure out what was going on. Next time I'll be disabling ESP prior to flights where we'll be practicing maneuvers. (It's also possible to disable it with the A/P disconnect switch as well).
And some challenges:
  • Fitting through a 45' hangar door is very tricky without a winch or powered towbar (both are on order but haven't arrived yet). It doesn't help that it has to go over the tracks for the hangar doors. Did I already mention how heavy this plane is? Pushing it back in without banging the wing tips is tough even with two of us. I've installed some guide rails on the floor to keep the wheels centered; so far so good, but I'm looking forward to getting the Sidewinder.
  • The CG envelope is a bit of a challenge, especially when the TKS tank is full of fluid (which it is, since it was delivered that way). Two adults in front with no passengers and full fuel pretty much guarantees you'll be forward of CG limits without a decent amount of weight in the rear baggage area. I wish the TKS tank were in the back. The prior owner had a tail weight kit added. I have the weights in a bag in the "trunk" since I'm not sure what else to do with them yet. My W&B spreadsheet says that is sufficient to pull the CG back into the envelope.
Looking forward to doing ME training and (eventually) taking it around the country.

Finally, for anybody looking to purchase a used DA42 or DA62, I'd highly recommend having Dave Seastead from Premier (TX) do the pre-buy inspection, even if you have to fly him out to the plane. He was great to work with and did a very thorough job.
Chris
N449TS / DA42-NG / 42.AC049
KHIO
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Jroseund
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Re: Chapter 42 begins

Post by Jroseund »

Congratulations Chris on your new purchase!

Wish you many tailwinds, clear skies and safe travels for you and your family.

Looking forward to seeing many photos of your travels in the future.
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Colin
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Re: Chapter 42 begins

Post by Colin »

Excellent write up. And Dave's the best.

As soon as you can get the CFI to sit in the back seat. CG problem solved.
Colin Summers, PP Multi-Engine IFR, ~2,600hrs
colin@mightycheese.com
http://www.flyingsummers.com
N972RD DA42 G1000 2.0 s/n 42.AC100
N971RD DA40 G1000 s/n 40.508 (traded)
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thefoxx
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Re: Chapter 42 begins

Post by thefoxx »

This is a move that I hope to achieve some day in the near future (how far is near anyway!?) - Currently at a DA20, looking to go to a DA40 and then 42!

Awesome thread and look forward to more posts from you, Chris - THANK YOU!
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Re: Chapter 42 begins

Post by AndrewM »

Chris, great post and thanks so much for sharing!
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Mdm0515
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Re: Chapter 42 begins

Post by Mdm0515 »

Excellent news and Congratulations. I'm a few months behind you with a 42 NG on order from Austria and due to arrive mid-year. My goal is also to take flight and see a much a larger part of the country and also fly to Ireland where my family has a home. Looking forward to hearing of more adventures and sharing my own as time flies by....
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Re: Chapter 42 begins

Post by CFIDave »

Re: the forward CG issue with DA42NGs: Replacement of the original aluminum-block Thielert (Continental CD-135) engines with cast iron block Austro/Mercedes engines -- not only makes the plane more than 200 lbs heavier, it also substantially shifts the CG forward. As Chris noted, you may need to carry ballast in back when flying with a full TKS tank and people in only the front seats.

Diamond addressed this in later DA42NG/-VI aircraft via changes such as installation of the TKS fluid tank behind the rear baggage compartment, and/or movement of ECU backup batteries into the tail ventral fin instead of under the rear seats. But IMHO the best solution (what I did) is to order your new DA42-VI with RACC air conditioning. The weight of the compressor in the back nicely balances out the increased forward weight of Austro engines.
N62DV DA62 62.056
N42DA DA42-VI 42.N117 (sold)
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KJYO Leesburg, Virginia
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Re: Chapter 42 begins

Post by TimS »

It's write ups like this that keep me coming back to the DA-42 as a retirement plane.

Tim
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Soareyes
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Re: Chapter 42 begins

Post by Soareyes »

Chris wrote:
Sat Jan 09, 2021 11:31 pm
The CG envelope is a bit of a challenge, especially when the TKS tank is full of fluid (which it is, since it was delivered that way). Two adults in front with no passengers and full fuel pretty much guarantees you'll be forward of CG limits without a decent amount of weight in the rear baggage area. I wish the TKS tank were in the back. The prior owner had a tail weight kit added. I have the weights in a bag in the "trunk" since I'm not sure what else to do with them yet. My W&B spreadsheet says that is sufficient to pull the CG back into the envelope.
For the DA42 the various options have significant effects on the CG.

Options that move the CG forward, sometimes a lot: radar, built-in oxygen, TKS as usually installed.

Options that move the CG rearward, sometimes a lot: air conditioning, auxiliary fuel tanks, TKS tank optionally installed behind the cargo area.

It can be a moving target. As TKS fluid is used the CG shifts rearward. As fuel is used, especially from the aux tanks, the CG shifts forward.

Run a scenario where you take off for a long flight in winter with full TKS and aux tanks and end up using the fuel but not the TKS. If your takeoff CG was forward to start with it will move further forward, possibly ahead of the allowable range.

Consider the same flight but starting with a rearward CG. You run into icing early in the flight and use a lot of TKS before using much fuel. The CG may move too far to the rear.

I ended up leaving off the air conditioner just because my wife always rides in the back seat. She puts her nose in a book and doesn't look out the window. She also likes the sound of the gear going down because it seems more like a real airliner.
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Re: Chapter 42 begins

Post by neema »

Congrats and welcome to the club, Chris!

Does your plane have AC installed? We can end up forward of the CG limit too, but only with TKS 100% full and 400 lbs of people up front with zero bags. One 15 lb bag usually takes care of it. Or leaving out a few pounds of TKS.

Or telling the copilot to skip breakfast
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