Austria-based Diamond Aircraft’s Diamond Aircraft Reconnaissance Trainer-450 (DART-450), which the company claims is the world’s first all-carbon fiber aircraft, took off for its first flight last week. The aircraft took off from Wiener Neustadt in Austria and flew for 60 minutes.
Diamond Aircraft describes the DART-450 as a 2-seat civilian and military trainer with a sidestick and pneumatic ejection seats. The aircraft has a wingspan of about 10m (33ft), a maximum take-off weight of 2,130kg (4,700lb) and a range of up to 1,240nm (2,300km). The engine’s design and low hourly fuel burn rate of 90 liters give the DART450 an operating cost of about $500 per hour. It has a maximum speed of 250 knots (approx. 129 mph) and can last eight hours in the sky.
“We achieved our target from the first drawings to the first flight in one year,” said Knappert. “I’m already excited about what comes next.”
Diamond Aircraft CEO Christian Dries says it will be capable of performing aerobatics and will excel as a reconnaissance and training aircraft.
“Company Chief Test Pilot Ingmar Mayerbuch and Flight Test Engineer Thomas Wimmer have been so excited about the first results that certification and serial production is green-lighted,” said Dries.
Christian Dries told Aviation International News earlier this year that the DART-450 will be priced below $3 million, and that the company already has a customer for the aircraft.
While the DART-450 is the first all-carbon fiber aircraft, it is not Diamond Aircraft’s first all-composite craft. Back in 1981, when the company was founded, it produced the H36 – an all-fiberglass composite motor glider. The H36 is still in production and over 900 have been built to date.
To see the DART-450’s first flight, watch the video below:
Correction: As a point of clarification, the Diamond Aircraft DART-450 was marketed as the world’s first all-carbon fiber tandem, 2-seat aerobatic civilian trainer. It is not, however, the first the first all-carbon fiber aircraft of any kind. The title of this article has been changed to note this distinction.