Would you buy another DA XX?

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lgrennlee
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Would you buy another DA XX?

Post by lgrennlee »

I have to say I have really enjoyed the DA40 so far. The plane is stable, well mannered and fun to fly. It is unfortunately not fast enough or big enough for what I want to do eventually.

This of course leads to a number of lines of thought. I however cannot see stepping up into a newer Diamond given the state of their management (or lack of) the cockpit hardware.

The major issues I see are:

> No software updates. "Basic" features are still missing from our legacy G1000's which have been rolled out to competitors cockpits.

> EOL hardware? A question mark because replacement parts are now getting hard to find according to the forums but no formal plan or path to something newer apart from a letter which now has at least one broken promise and that required the owners to organize. With no more GIA63W units being produced (allegedly) it is just a matter of time before these aircraft become unflyable. There is no other industry more planned than Aviation so this is a real head scratcher.

> Support - so far I have had good experiences with our Diamond Service center on the mechanical end, but they don't have the Garmin skills in house. This is a problem, especially when things need to be reconfigured or troubleshot. Diamond needs to ensure that BOTH skills exist at their service centers even if it means paying for qualification of employees.

> Missing features. Some of the newer aircraft have "NXi" but this doesn't mean the same thing as the Textron version. These are recent issues and it says to me that they still don't have their act together.

The DA50 looks neat if we're talking about singles. The level of care and management of the Avionics is a total turn off however. In my mind without contractual assurances I'd not consider Diamond for my next aircraft. In terms of twins, the DA62 is hard to find a rival but given Cirrus, we need to ask ourselves if twins still make sense.

Another question: Is this a widespread issue? I'm just starting my research on the topic.

Also, I understand why all of this has happened - in the end though Diamond is selling the product and they are responsible. I know that legally that is not the case, but if they want to be successful then they need to find a way to work with their industry partners.
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pietromarx
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Re: Would you buy another DA XX?

Post by pietromarx »

I hear you, but I believe each is a good product for what it is (flying 1-7 people around). They are not good computers, to be sure, but your car isn't much to speak about for software, either.

One has to like the airplane for what it is. The DA-40 is perfect for me as it is today and there aren't really any new software features that I need inside the airplane (vs on my tablet, phone, etc.). I do not believe that Diamond will ever get its software chops together.

Many will disagree with me but the reality is that the G1000 is just there to provide instrument readouts and to work with the aviation infrastructure (GPS, VOR, ILS, transponders / ADS-B, etc.). These things are very slow-changing and that's all that we need the onboard avionics to handle. The regulatory framework around aviation is simply unable to move quickly -- and, when it does, bad things happen (see the MAX flight control software issue).

Bt comparison I eagerly look at the updates to the Garmin Pilot and Foreflight apps (and Flightaware, etc.). It adds something to my day.

To wit, the next time you are on an airliner, in a Gulfstream / Falcon / Hawker / Citation, or at EAA ... check out their avionics. Very few updates are ever made and mostly due to regulatory and/or liability issues. I've never heard of anyone in aviation outside of single-engine private owner-flown airplanes wanting lots of software updates.

The GIA-63W and -64 (which should be a drop-in replacement except for the fact that Diamond / Garmin have not completed the regulatory process) are reparable and Garmin doesn't seem to be going anywhere. They're unlikely to orphan a profitable market.
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Colin
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Re: Would you buy another DA XX?

Post by Colin »

Single vs Twin is apparently a constant debate, but for me there's nothing like that second engine. I fly over the Pacific to get from Seattle out to the San Juan Islands. I do not feel as secure in a single, no matter how carefully the flight is planned, then when I am humming along in the twin.

Our DA40 was the perfect plane for a little less than a decade. I wish I had switched to the DA42 sooner. I wish I had a DA62 sitting in a hangar waiting for me.
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Boatguy
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Re: Would you buy another DA XX?

Post by Boatguy »

As Colin points out, a Cirrus is no comparison to a twin. Pulling the chute and ending up in the ocean, or descending into the mountains at 900fpm is a poor comparison to continuing on with one engine and landing at an airport.

However, the points you make about the poor avionics support, poor/expensive parts availability, and lack of Austro service centers are very real issues. When we posed the post sale avionics support question to the former head of global support in Austria, we got a blank stare; he then explained that avionics support was up to Garmin and was not a Diamond responsibility. Of course Garmin says exactly the opposite! Representations have been made about forthcoming updates, but they have not materialized. Meanwhile Diamond has introduced a new plane and just announced yet another new plane.

You should send those questions directly to Scott McFadzean, CEO of Diamond Canada. I'm sure we would all like to hear his reply.
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pietromarx
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Re: Would you buy another DA XX?

Post by pietromarx »

Glad he was the "former head of global support." As I say, I doubt strongly that Diamond will find its software chops.

However, Garmin's G1000 has been a strong product widely used across the industry. When you actually need a replacement part, you will be able to find one.
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VickersPilot
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Re: Would you buy another DA XX?

Post by VickersPilot »

Peter makes an excellent point re migration to iPad based avionics. Much of the future progress won't be GPS derived glidepaths etc but rather will be from iPad's with Iridium Certus connectivity. The MFD will likely become somewhat redundant except to illustrate engine and fuel statuses. The functions that the iPad can't replace are those of the PFD & AFCS and thus requires investment - encompassing everything from Lowspeed Protection (missing), AoA (missing) Garmin Smart Rudder Bias, Autoland, Autoglide, Runway Overrun Protection etc.

However, in fairness to Diamond, current production aircraft are the output of a very gifted but quasi-autistic management. They prioritized using better composites, crash cages, safer anti-submarine seats, GA's only safe fuel system (protected tanks and braided lines), expensive trailing link landing gear in the twins that has all but eliminated landing accidents, hugely advanced engines. These were the RIGHT areas to direct investment but DIFFERENT to what the market wants. Most pilots are happy buying wet wing aircraft that have continuous landing accidents (pilots don't know what's best for them).

But it's far harder to sell as this generation (me included!) want more visual technology. Diamond doesn't offer that, not through a lack of total investment but rather an investment directed at those "more important" attributes. This will likely change, there is new management in town and likely more shareholder/profit focused - one can only imagine they will shift the company to producing what the market wants. Let's hope they don't leave behind those good core attributes as they make this shift.

No way will a shareholder appointed management ignore the market like an owner manager may choose. I reckon DAI will improve on the tech front (the market is screaming at them).
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haykinson
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Re: Would you buy another DA XX?

Post by haykinson »

So, to answer the original question, I _would_ buy another DA40. In fact, I had already ordered it and am waiting for it to arrive. Why?

Realistically there are three paths to an airplane, for me: Diamond, Cirrus, or Someone Else.

The "someone else" option is basically somewhere between a newer Beachcraft / Cessna / Piper option and a fantastic older airframe with lots of avionics upgrades. I've been spoiled by Diamond, however: composite fuselage, relative ease of maintenance, well-integrated avionics. Anything else would involve a pretty serious compromise in safety, quality, age, or efficiency. I didn't want to go that way.

So it was down to Cirrus and Diamond. Cirrus really tries to get you over to their side: they have a freaking app now for your plane, like a car. The have lots of USB ports for passengers. Their wings have lights built in nicely, they have a high spousal approval factor with the parachute, etc. But to me, those appeared more like really, really nice optics, while the substance was unchanged: an avgas-burning thirsty engine. All things considered, I am happier with continuing to use a key than burning avgas, and so went with the DA40.

I think that Diamond is just one initiative away from mostly catching up with Cirrus in all the other respects. The hard work is the airframe, not adding an app or USB ports. I also think they desperately need to do this, so that Diamond vs Cirrus is a no-brainer, rather than letting Cirrus continue to tempt people like me with creature comforts that attempt to cover up for their older engine concept.
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Re: Would you buy another DA XX?

Post by Boatguy »

haykinson wrote: Mon Oct 18, 2021 4:17 pm I think that Diamond is just one initiative away from mostly catching up with Cirrus in all the other respects.
No question that the work done 20yrs ago designing a composite airframe, protected tanks within wing spars and control surface rods is what is gives Diamond an advantage. But since then?

Both companies are owned by large Chinese conglomerates. The two owners probably have different styles and agendas, but neither has "shareholder" input in the sense of a U.S. company; they are driven top down.

Where Cirrus crushes Diamond is in post sales support. They issue regular updates to the Garmin avionics which keeps their fleet current. Their new planes always have the latest that Garmin has developed. Diamond's planes coming off the assembly line today have the same avionics that they were shipping in 2019 and do not have the features that Cirrus was shipping four years ago.

Avidyne is now offering an upgrade path to the early Cirrus customers who's planes came with Avidyne avionics. Compare that to "legacy" Diamond owners who are on a long waiting list to just upgrade to WAAS and have no path forward unless they are willing to spend an additional $75K to also replace their legacy autopilots.

Neither Diamond or Garmin have any interest in offering avionics upgrades. Make no mistake that a new Diamond purchased today will in 15yrs be in the same position as those Diamond's that were purchased 15yrs ago. We purchase an airframe with a 75yr life is tied to avionics with a 15yr life. The avionics in the plane when you take delivery are the avionics the plane will have forever because neither Garmin or Diamond has any interest in doing the work to certify any other solution.

Cirrus planes can be serviced almost anywhere. Diamond owners with Austro engines routinely fly hundreds of miles to get their planes serviced then wait (and wait) and pay for parts to be shipped across at least one international border, if not two.

Cirrus manufactures their planes, then brings them to Tennessee for year round delivery. Diamond builds the plane and tells the owner to come and get it in Canada, which for at least 4-5 months of the year is a pretty challenging weather environment. My plane sat in Canada for a full month after I paid for it because the weather prevented taking delivery.

Cirrus has regular meetings with their owners (who are themselves quite well organized). Cirrus listens to the market and responds to what they hear. After two years of ad hoc meetings, Diamond has yet to agree to regular meetings.

Diamond makes a superior airframe. Austro engines are superior to Continental or Lycoming, though struggling with a number of issues as described in other threads. Cirrus has a composite airframe with a wet wing and engines that have not changed significantly in 70years.

Cirrus takes care of the customer after delivery, Diamond - not so much...

It's a challenging choice. A more advanced airplane with poor support, or a less advanced airplane (fitted out like a new Mercedes), with excellent support? There is no question that the lack of after sales support frequently makes a Diamond owner question their original decision.
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AndrewM
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Re: Would you buy another DA XX?

Post by AndrewM »

Yes I would buy a DA50, as it has "almost" all I want in an upgrade... more space, FIKI, better fit/finish, a little faster, more carrying capacity and so on.

But if I did that I would no doubt be doing more IFR, and in that case with a single I would want a chute. Not my wife.. I would want it. I know many people will disagree with me but after reading extensively on this over rough terrain or water, a chute would be preferable.

So I took my cash designated for the DA50 and ordered a new boat. It arrives May 2022 and I am very excited about it. Looking forward to all those sailing adventures to come, and I will continue to enjoy the 2007 DA40 also for many years to come, as I cannot see any major reasons to buy a more recent model DA40 as nothing much has changed... and I just don't feel the need for a twin!
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Re: Would you buy another DA XX?

Post by Karl »

AndrewM wrote: Mon Oct 18, 2021 5:57 pm Yes I would buy a DA50, as it has "almost" all I want in an upgrade... more space, FIKI, better fit/finish, a little faster, more carrying capacity and so on.

But if I did that I would no doubt be doing more IFR, and in that case with a single I would want a chute. Not my wife.. I would want it. I know many people will disagree with me but after reading extensively on this over rough terrain or water, a chute would be preferable.

So I took my cash designated for the DA50 and ordered a new boat. It arrives May 2022 and I am very excited about it. Looking forward to all those sailing adventures to come, and I will continue to enjoy the 2007 DA40 also for many years to come, as I cannot see any major reasons to buy a more recent model DA40 as nothing much has changed... and I just don't feel the need for a twin!
Does that boat come with a big inflatable bag to stop it sinking? :lol: :lol:
Sorry I couldn't resist. Only joking.
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