DA-42 in-flight engine failure

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SamoL
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DA-42 in-flight engine failure

Post by SamoL »

My first post here - I hoped it will be a bit different :)
I have become an owner of a brand new DA-42. After only 24h we experienced an in-flight engine failure. Both ECUs of the right engine reported a failure and there was nothing we could do to get the engine running again. I was not the PIC, as at that time (Thursday Aug 24th 2023) I didn't have my MEP rating yet - I was on the right seat. The pilot safely landed it on the airport in Italy and a Diamond certified mechanic flew immediately from Slovenia to diagnose the problem. The high pressure fuel pump of the right engine showed no signs of life. He downloaded three hours of data which showed that the fuel pump was not operating normally even before - but we didn't notice this and the engine performed flawlessly before the failure. Since then the aircraft remains put in Italy as Diamond has taken no action at all.
I understand that I might just had bad luck. This might even be a failure in Diamond's quality assurance - and I get it, it is not a mass produced product. But what I would expect would be Diamond taking care that this aircraft flies again ASAP and to investigate this problem so that it doesn't happen again to someone else. The only answer we got: "The fuel pump has been ordered." I certainly hope that it is "only" a fuel pump that died, as there is no hope they would have a new engine in stock soon.
I intend to update this thread when anything happens. So far (after 8 days) the only change is that I got covers for the wings and the horizontal stabiliser (not from Diamond), as we have frequently experienced storms with hail in this part of Europe lately. And the aircraft is sitting on the apron weighted down with sand bags, as there are no anchor points for GA aircrafts on this airport.
Diamond, you can do better ;)
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michael.g.miller
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Re: DA-42 in-flight engine failure

Post by michael.g.miller »

Sorry to hear about your trouble, but glad you are safe! An in flight engine shutdown is no doubt startling, especially on your new bird.

In my ~2 years of experience owning a DA42NG, including flying it around the world, I have found:

- Austro support is extremely helpful with diagnosing problems. Give them an engine data dump, and they can tell you with 99% certainty the issue.
- Getting parts is incredibly frustrating

Even when I needed parts in Europe, it was a 3-day lead time. I could pay 300 euros to get the part in 2-days. On Fridays, Austro closes at noon (!!!!!!). A far cry from the US Standard "order by 4pm, ships same day." Really totally non-customer-friendly. I've resolved to carrying a spare parts chest in the plane with a {propeller governor, wastegate actuator, thermostat, coolant jug, gearbox oil}.

Given that you have a new plane under warranty, I am sure Diamond will take care of you. Just be patient with parts, and I think you'll be fixed up quickly.
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Re: DA-42 in-flight engine failure

Post by Boatguy »

SamoL wrote: Fri Sep 01, 2023 9:13 pm Diamond, you can do better ;)
Check your PMs.
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krellis
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Re: DA-42 in-flight engine failure

Post by krellis »

Someone remind me again how reliable the Austro engines are versus the ancient Lycomings? PT-6 reliability? Don't think so...

Result could have been a lot different if this had been a DA40NG.

Glad it turned out well for both the pilots and the airplane.
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chili4way
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Re: DA-42 in-flight engine failure

Post by chili4way »

Thanks for the report, and I'm glad it was a safe outcome.

Looking forward to updates about the nature of the failure in the HP fuel pump system, e.g., if it was a failure in the Bosch HPP itself, in the mechanisms inside the Austro engine that drive it, elsewhere in the high pressure fuel rail or injector system, a fuel contaimnation issue, or something else entirely.

Was the field diagnosis limited to reviewing the ECU data, e.g., the rail pressure reading, or did they also do a mechanical diagnosis?
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SamoL
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Re: DA-42 in-flight engine failure

Post by SamoL »

They have removed the cowlings and inspect it visually. All looked OK. They didn't try to start it, but have downloaded the ECU data. It could also be fuel contamination and they will test the fuel. It was always refueled at major local airports.
I don't know regarding reliability: all piston engines of more powerful aircrafts have problems. We don't know yet about Continental's new 6 cyl. I like that engine, but Diamond decided not to put long range tanks into DA50. Comparison to PT-6 is not really fair and I don't think there are many engines that match its reliability.
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Ed McDonald
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Re: DA-42 in-flight engine failure

Post by Ed McDonald »

The Diamond Pilot’s Association raised the issue of spare parts availability (in addition to parts pricing) with Diamond Aircraft a couple weeks ago.

When we get the answers we will be reporting that on the DPA site.
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ememic99
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Re: DA-42 in-flight engine failure

Post by ememic99 »

It would be interesting to make comparison of reliability of AE (300, 330) vs. CD (135, 155) engines.
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chili4way
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Re: DA-42 in-flight engine failure

Post by chili4way »

SamoL wrote: Sat Sep 02, 2023 3:17 pm It could also be fuel contamination and they will test the fuel. It was always refueled at major local airports.
That's certainly part of a complete diagnosis, and hopefully they sampled fuel from both sides to see if there was any difference. Presumably, you fueled both at the same time from the same source. That would seem to make contamination an unlikely cause.

As I understand it, the biggest contamination risk to the HPP is water. The fuel is the principal lubricant for the high-pressure fuel pump. Water is no good. The fuel tank screens and filter make it unlikely solid contaminants would get into the HPP.

While water can be introduced with the fuel (less likely at a major airport with good fuel truck sumping discipline), precipitation, condensation, and washing are other potential sources.

Once I understood how bad water is for the HPP, I became a stickler for sumping before each flight -- with special attention to the lowest sump point (the gascolator in my DA40NG). Folklore had suggested that sumping was not as important with Jet-A as it is for Avgas (because of the fuel truck discipline). It's not true.

I hope you'll get the details of the failure point. In addition to the HPP and associated mechanical drive systems, it's possible that the PCV (common rail pressure control valve) wasn't working correctly. It's also possible that some of the ECU/control wiring could have had an issue.
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krellis
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Re: DA-42 in-flight engine failure

Post by krellis »

SamoL wrote: Sat Sep 02, 2023 3:17 pm They have removed the cowlings and inspect it visually. All looked OK. They didn't try to start it, but have downloaded the ECU data. It could also be fuel contamination and they will test the fuel. It was always refueled at major local airports.
I don't know regarding reliability: all piston engines of more powerful aircrafts have problems. We don't know yet about Continental's new 6 cyl. I like that engine, but Diamond decided not to put long range tanks into DA50. Comparison to PT-6 is not really fair and I don't think there are many engines that match its reliability.
That is very true. I was referring to one Diamond owner on this forum who seemed to think Lycoming engines failed frequently and Austros were approaching PT-6 levels of reliability. Both of his statements were wildly inaccurate (excerpt below) -

I feel for you guys with the Lycomings probably more than you do for us Austro operators. Lycoming IO360s fail inflight at a predictable rate of once every 1,100 hours or so (seehttps://www.avweb.com/flight-safety/acc ... avoidable/ .

While Austro engine operators cannot quite leap up to the PT-6 operator level of reliability smugness, they're not far off.
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