5 Reasons the DA-42 is the best transition aircraft for future owner jet pilots
Updated: Aug 14
When we speak with customers who are interested in buying their first Mustang, M2, CJ, or comparable light jet, we commonly address questions that pertain to navigating the transition from single engine to the multi-engine rating required to fly jets.
Historically, owner pilots get a PPL, then instrument, and then buy a single engine piston aircraft. That’s great, but if your goal is to be in a Mustang or M2, I’d take the approach of quickly getting into an ME airplane (DA-42) and gaining ME experience.
If you, or someone you know, is on the path to eventually purchasing a single pilot entry level jet, and require a trainer to make the transition to the multi-engine rating, here are five reasons why I believe the DA-42 is the best multi-engine trainer aircraft, and some notes on the value I see in purchasing it as a precursor airplane (instead of a high performance single engine aircraft).
Typically the ownership period for a pilot’s first aircraft is only three years, so resale value is an important figure to consider when determining what airplane is best. Before buying, pilots should ask themselves: what will owning this aircraft look like from a financial perspective, (where residual value is a big factor)?
For an aircraft like the DA-42, that’s a nice picture––in comparison with high performance single engine aircraft, not nearly the volume of these airplanes have been produced, so they hold their market value very well. It’s a benefit to be able to accumulate hours in a multi-engine aircraft without losing much resale value when the time comes to move up.
Another element we often consult our customers on buying light jets is the difficulty associated with obtaining reasonable insurance rates. A primary qualifying factor is the amount of multi-engine time logged by the applicant.
2. FADEC / Single lever power controls
FADEC - full authority digital engine control. Modern jet engines are typically FADEC (or something close to it). A traditional twin trainer has propeller levers, throttle levers, and mixture levers. With the FADEC controlled diesel engines on the DA-42, you don’t have those––you have a single lever power control for each engine, just like you would in a jet. FADEC simplifies engine, fuel, and propeller management, which in turn decreases pilot workload, and maximizes engine efficiency. FADEC simplifies single engine emergency operations, which increases the overall safety factor of multi-engine aircraft.
3. Single engine characteristics and Jet-A/diesel fuel
The most demanding part of multi-engine aircraft operations is dealing with engine failures. Engine failures on conventional piston twins often create high workload environments for pilots due to individual controls for engine, propeller, and fuel.
The modern design of the DA-42 eliminates the complex sequence of procedures required by conventional piston twins in the event of an engine failure. In addition, single engine procedures in the DA-42 more closely match single engine procedures in a modern business jet.
The DA-42 diesel engines burn Jet-A, making it much more fuel-efficient than a standard piston engine twin. Jet fuel is more readily available around the world, which makes market demand for the DA-42 stronger worldwide.
4. Cross-Country Capability
In a recent video I filmed for the Flying with Rich YouTube channel that covers this subject, we took the DA-42 to 8,500’, set power for max continuous cruise, and achieved 172 KTAS while burning 14.4 GPH (total fuel burn, both engines). In comparison with the popular Cirrus SR22T, the DA-42 burns less fuel and competes favorably on cruise speed. Due to its fuel capacity and efficient diesel engines, the DA-42 has increased range over the SR22T. With a fuel load to match the SR22T’s range, the DA-42 will have a higher payload.
The DA-42 is equipped with Garmin’s G1000 avionics suite, including the GFC 700 autopilot (except for some earlier versions). It’s beneficial for pilots acquiring ME time to gain experience with avionics systems comparable to a jet’s.
If you’re interested in learning more (or are more of a visual learner), I just covered this topic in a recent video for my YouTube Channel, Flying with Rich. If you have any other questions about the DA-42, or transitioning to a light jet, feel free reach out at the contact information below.