Diamond Aircraft has had a positive reaction in Africa to its surveillance specialist DA62 following a recent demonstration tour. For four weeks in September and October 2018 its special mission DA62 MPP aircraft and training DA40 NG aircraft visited several countries in east and south Africa.
Sales manager for the region Reinhard Schwaiger says: “We are proud of our long list of clients with particular focus on institutional as well as fleet customers in the African market. After intensive planning we had the opportunity to demonstrate the performance and capabilities of our Diamond DA40 NG and DA62 to a new audience while touring south to east Africa. The full composite structure as well as the turbocharged Jet-A1 engines showed perfect performance throughout the whole journey at a very low operating cost.
“Our operational performance has been particularly apparent at African high altitude airports in hot conditions, where our aircraft can fully develop its systemic advantages. Of course we expect further growth opportunities for the future in an increasingly important African market.”
On the first stop of the tour in Chilongolo, Zambia, the Diamond Aircraft team was welcomed by Bryan Wilson, MD of Flying Mission Zambia (FMZ), a Christian non-profit organisation that provides logistical support to misionary and developmental workers in remote areas of Zambia. The Flying Mission Zambia fleet dates from the late 1970s to the early 1980s, and requires increasing maintenance downtime. FMZ has been looking for solutions to replace this fleet and showed considerable interest in the Diamond models.
During numerous demo flights potential customers had the possibility to experience firsthand the cabin volume and payload capability of the new DA62 MPP platform, which is equipped with the SWE400LE EO/IR camera and a moving map from Trakker, an AIS receiver, Thuraya BLOS satcom system and the in-house modified maritime radar, called NEPTUN. It was demonstrated along with Diamond's Command Compact Ground Station.
Via a customised ground station, the aircraft is able to transmit live video, META data, voice communications, mission planning and moving map, video management as well as secured connectivity with operational headquarters.
“Our special mission aircraft can be used for various operations like border control, anti-poaching, drug smuggling, piracy and illegal fishing activities,” states sales manager for Africa and APAC special mission aircraft Michael Neufingerl. “We provided evidence during our 2018 Africa demo tour that presents the wide range of capabilities of our aircraft. Our vision is to provide a powerful and cost efficient airborne solution, which perfectly meets the requirements of our customers and this for a unique cost-benefit ratio.”
Mathias Hutterer, head of engineering and ops and a test pilot himself, adds: “We overflew some beautiful countries. In such harsh climates and environments however, it makes sense to operate the DA62. We want to show and operate the turnkey solution within the whole spectrum of capability to our clients. This will give the end customer the certainty that the platform, including the sensor suite, will meet their expectations within their usual surroundings as well as in conjunction with their operational envelope.”
The next stop for Diamond will be the Aviation Africa show in Kigali, Rwanda from 27-28 February.