Vice President Diamond Sales
August 15, 2013
Hi Jeff -
Great to hear from you! Thank you for reaching out.
Sorry for the length of this response. As Blaise Pascal once said (paraphrasing): I didn't have time for a short letter, so I'm sending this instead. :P
N120TS now has vanity plates: N171CB. You even supplied the new numbers!
I just crossed 100 very happy flight hours in her, so I've been flying quite a bit. Destinations include Portland (2x), Yosemite (4x), Tahoe (lost count...), Pismo Beach, plus lots of local flights. Next month I fly to Seattle, and am hoping to get out to Catalina (after getting a couple of life jackets). I'm very comfortable landing in up to 20kt crosswinds, and feel fluent enough with the various systems that I've started my IFR training in earnest - and generally fly IFR-style approaches (obviously in VFR) whenever feasible.
Overall I am extremely happy with my little plane. The DA40's capital cost is obviously significant, but the delightful handling and unbeatable view make flying *so* much fun. Even the rear passengers enjoy the flight! And good fuel efficiency is crucial to keeping my inner cheapskate from inhibiting my flying. :D Except for a useful load increase (due to weight reduction and/or stronger gear), the DA40 completely meets my needs for the forseeable future. I actually canceled my order for the supercharger, since I have had no issues around Tahoe/Yosemite even in summer conditions. The high-lift wing works fine as long as I stay a little under gross and lean appropriately. And I can buy a lot of gas for $35k. :D
You are terrific, so I am happy to provide a glowing reference and referral. I haven't had the opportunity for the latter yet, but definitely will point people in your direction when I have the opportunity! The main thing that I *really* liked about working with you was the complete lack of drama. I explained what I wanted, you dealt with the seller (who presumably had a wildly optimistic view of market value), and came back to me with a fair price on the first bounce. I couldn't ask for a smoother purchase experience, so thank you for your help!
FYI, here is some unsolicited feedback on various mods that I've made so far:
- I am *extremely* happy with the AeroLED NSP strobe/position lights. I recommend these to everyone who will listen, and the CTO at AeroLEDs has been extremely helpful troubleshooting the Aveo beacons. The Whelen LEDs may be an easier installation due to the wiring, but I think they look like typical Whelen products: i.e., fat...
- In contrast, I am *not* very happy with the Aveo top/belly beacons, which generate large amounts of RFI. AeroLEDs is about to introduce some comparable beacons with essentially zero RFI above 20 MHz, so I am probably going to swap the Aveo Red Baron Mini beacons at my first opportunity. It is not a safety issue, but the clicking has gotten quite annoying (like fingernails on a blackboard...). Aveo has also been singularly uncooperative in providing any useful information for troubleshooting. They just like to bash competitors and tell me how great their stuff is.
- LED map lights are a no-brainer. In addition to the dramatically lower risk of a completely dead battery, when I replaced the incandescents the pilot-side fixture was visibly discolored due to heat. FYI, DAP makes an excellent polymer sealant that matches the gray ceiling paint extremely well. It easily cleans up with mineral spirits before drying, and never gets hard: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0006B67SM/ref=oh_details_o03_s00_i00?ie=UTF8&;psc=1
- The Reiff engine heater has worked very well. I strongly prefer their clamp-around-cylinder-head design to Tanis' approach. My policy is to not turn the engine over until the oil is >50F, and I've used the heater quite often to make this happen.
- Tempest fine wires are a *huge* improvement over the massives. I can now easily run LoP and routinely cruise at 135kts/7.3 gph above 10k.
- Hard-wiring the BatteryMinder (access through the oil filler door) works very well. I leave this connected at all times while the plane is in the hangar, and on long trips I usually bring the BatteryMinder along just-in-case.
- Mountain High's pulse demand oxygen system works great for me. I just wish there was a less clunky way to hold the tank behind the copilot seat. But you guys probably don't see a lot of DA40 oxygen installations in Florida! :D
On my wish list for you, if I may be so bold:
- If you have any pull with LoPresti, I would *really* like to get a decent nose wheel fairing. The current one is complete crap. If necessary, I'd buy an entire set of pants at any reasonable price just to get a good nose wheel pant. If I'm not careful on a crosswind take-off, I inevitably suffer from yaw until touchdown. This is a major PITA... :-( Note that this is even after adding turbulator strips to the fairing (Glenn's idea), and tightening the nose wheel attachment bolt as much as allowed.
- Do you know any source for Diamond's fancy new leather? I have a friend who could make new seat covers, but I'd only do this if it would help (a lot) with the heat. Alternatively, if you guys are using the new materials, would you be willing to sell the leather bits (presumably mostly-completed) so I could install them locally? It is just not cost-effective to fly out to your patch from here.
- The white heat-resistant coating on the lower cowling is coming off in large sections. Any suggestions??
- FWIW, I will probably will swap the HIDs for LEDs in the next few years. I routinely fly with the HIDs even during the day, and really like the prospect of flashing lights for daytime visibility. The low current drain is also a VeryGoodThing(tm). I'm just waiting for the cost/lumen to get a little lower. Do you have any clients who have swapped the HIDs for LEDs?
- You may want to suggest that Diamond replace the 12/28V outlet with what people *really* want: 5V USB power ports. Having two ports available on the glare shield (Dual GPS & Spot PLB) and one on each side of the cockpit (iPad/Nexus tablets &/or phones) would save a mess of cabling!
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Last Updated on Monday, 09 September 2013 15:27