The Diamond DA20 is a two-seat tricycle gear general aviation aircraft designed for flight training. In addition to its role as a civil and military training aircraft, it is also used for personal flying by pilot-owners.
Production of the Continental IO-240-B3B powered C1 Evolution and Eclipse models began in 1998, also in Canada.
Production of the A1 Katana is complete but the DA20-C1 is still being constructed in 2007.
Although the DA20 is available with instrumentation and avionics suitable for flight under instrument flight rules (IFR), its plastic airframe lacks lightning protection and thus does not qualify for IFR certification.
The DA20 is certified in the utility category, and it is permissible to intentionally spin it with flaps in the full up position.
The DA20 is intended for a similar role as the Cessna 150, but there are many differences between the two aircraft. The DA20 has a higher cruise speed and rate of climb, control sticks (as opposed to yokes), composite construction, a canopy, low wings, a single fuel tank, a T-tail, and a castering nosewheel. Performance is significantly increased by the liberal use of composites and tapered wingtips which reduces drag.
In November 2008 the company announced that it would be offering an Aspen Avionics glass cockpit primary flight display as an option on the DA20. Diamond indicated the Aspen PFD was easy to incorporate into the existing instrument panel design because it mounts in a standard round instrument hole.
The DA20 is equipped with a bubble canopy. Small windows on either side of the canopy can be opened on the ground and in flight to provide cockpit ventilation. This canopy design, however, lets in an above-average amount of sunlight into the cockpit, increasing the cockpit's initial temperature.
The DA20's seats are recumbent and are not adjustable, instead the rudder pedals are adjustable fore and aft to accommodate pilots of different height. The fixed seats provide better occupant crash protection.
The seats in the C1 variant have a less obtuse angle, but, like the A1, are not adjustable. Both models are available with cloth or leather seat coverings.
Because the nose wheel of the DA20 is not linked to the rudder pedals, turns while taxiing must be made with differential braking, with rudder steering becoming more effective as airspeed increases.
The DA-20 possesses a higher glide ratio than many of its competitors. The glide ratio of the DA20-C1 is 11:1 and the DA20-A1 is 14:1. For comparison, the Cessna 150, another two-seat trainer, has a glide ratio of 7:1. The DA20's high glide ratio can pose a challenge for students if a no-flap landing is necessary. This can be greatly lessened with a moderate forward slip.
The higher glide ratio is a significant advantage in the event of an engine failure as it allows the aircraft to reach a greater number of potential landing areas from the same altitude.
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University provided the Academy Flight Screening (AFS) program for the United States Air Force Academy in DA20-C1 "Falcons" which were specially ordered with slightly smaller fuel tanks to save weight and primary flight instruments on the right side of the aircraft. Embry-Riddle operated a fleet of DA20s at the Academy. The AFS program was discontinued in 2007.
Doss Aviation, after being awarded a contract for US Air Force Introductory Flight Screening (IFS) in Pueblo, CO, has ordered 42+ DA20s. This program provides screening for all US Air Force pilot candidates, Combat Systems Officer (CSO) candidates, and Weapons System Officer (WSO) candidates before their follow-on training, including Undergraduate Pilot Training (UPT) at Laughlin AFB, Vance AFB, NAS Whiting Field and Columbus AFB, Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training (ENJJPT) at Sheppard AFB, Undergrate CSO/WSO Training (formerly UNT - now at Randolph AFB and Pensacola, FL). IFS is also taking over the Academy's AFS program in the next few years so that all Air Force pilots attend the same training.
The Diamond family of aircraft is supported by two active aircraft type clubs, The Diamond Aviators Association and the Diamond Aircraft Owners Free Forum.
Data from DA20 webpage
Published - July 2009
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