Contemplating long-term suitability of a DA40 for family of 4

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linzhiming
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Contemplating long-term suitability of a DA40 for family of 4

Post by linzhiming »

I am wondering whether I am slowly but surely approaching the end of a DA40's suitability for my mission profile, namely using it to travel with my wife and two daughters, including a reasonable amount of luggage (around 20 kg or 45 lbs) with a minimum of 3 hrs range + IFR reserves. With my daughters increasingly getting heavier as they get older (7yo weighing around 25 kg and 12yo weighing around 55 kg with a lot of scope for weights to go up, especially for the 7yo), I think I am going to hit MTOW and C.G. limitations in the next 2 years or so.

I presume that others have been at this juncture before and am therefore wondering whether my assessment is correct and whether this means I need to start looking at another plane (presumably non-Diamond unless I am considering a twin).

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Re: Contemplating long-term suitability of a DA40 for family of 4

Post by haykinson »

I'm in a similar situation (kids are 7 and 9), and basically planning on flying shorter legs when fully loaded. It's not a great solution, but it should work for a number of years. At which point either I have to move to an older non composite airframe with a higher useful load or manage to afford the DA42 somehow.
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Re: Contemplating long-term suitability of a DA40 for family of 4

Post by Steve »

We initially could fly all 4 of us, full (77#) of baggage, and full tanks (40 gallon) in our DA40 at less than max gross weight of 2535#. Then the kids (and I) started "growing". About the time we reached max gross, the oldest son went away to college, so only the three of us were flying. Then, my wife decided she didn't want to put up with her severe motion sickness anymore, so it is usually just my younger son and myself now, plus a lot of hiking/caving gear, and we are a couple of hundred pounds under max gross.

We do have one of the lightest empty weight DA40s (1698#).

Steve
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Re: Contemplating long-term suitability of a DA40 for family of 4

Post by CFIDave »

Sounds like some of you may be ideal candidates for the upcoming DA50. :)
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Re: Contemplating long-term suitability of a DA40 for family of 4

Post by TimS »

I would hold off as long as you practically can.
Besides introducing the DA-50, you may see the DA-42 come down in price.
I ended up having to go back to Cirrus for the SR22 is in between the DA-40 and DA-42 in terms of capabilities, and the DA-40 was not enough, and the DA-42 was too high capital wise.

Tim
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Re: Contemplating long-term suitability of a DA40 for family of 4

Post by linzhiming »

Thanks for the replies!

I like Steve‘s response and was one that had definitely crossed my mind, i.e. will the older one become more independent and reduce the likelihood of a 4-person mission profile? I hope to believe it won’t be until the older one turns 16 or even older by which time the younger one might be quite a bit heavier so there might be a period of 2-3 years where I would be outside CG envelope. MTOW is slightly more manageable via amount of fuel in the tanks but CG is not. On the other hand, it is not clear to me by how much safety is really compromised by a slightly more aft CG for an extended tank DA40.

The SR22 has certainly come to mind, also because of its FIKI certification, as did a Piper Saratoga (as there have been rare occasions where I wished I could have carried 4 passengers).

I think a new DA50 would be too expensive (I heard at AERO Friedrichshafen this year that it might be priced somewhere between a new DA42 and DA62) in terms of capital outlay vs a used and well-maintained DA42 or SR22. A turbo Piper Saratoga with G1000 would fall into a similar price range.

So right now I am still staying put (I love my DA40) but it looks like it is just a matter of time before I might need to switch to another bird...
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Re: Contemplating long-term suitability of a DA40 for family of 4

Post by Rich »

I'm one of those kind of in the sweet spot. Having bumped my MTOW/MLW to 2646/2535 w empty weight of 1705. I can haul more load than most. With 40 gallon tanks no CG problems, though the 40 gallon capacity may bother some. Full fuel leaves available cabin load at 700 lb.

All this no help to others, necessarily, but Steve could choose to best my bragging rights by having the MTOW/MLW conversion done to his plane. :D
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Re: Contemplating long-term suitability of a DA40 for family of 4

Post by Steve »

Rich wrote:All this no help to others, necessarily, but Steve could choose to best my bragging rights by having the MTOW/MLW conversion done to his plane. :D
I was hoping to lose another 4 pounds by installing the SkyBeacon ADS-B -out and -in wingtip lights and being able to dump the strobe power supplies. I may have to go on a diet instead...

Steve
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Re: Contemplating long-term suitability of a DA40 for family of 4

Post by Rich »

Steve wrote:
Rich wrote:All this no help to others, necessarily, but Steve could choose to best my bragging rights by having the MTOW/MLW conversion done to his plane. :D
I was hoping to lose another 4 pounds by installing the SkyBeacon ADS-B -out and -in wingtip lights and being able to dump the strobe power supplies. I may have to go on a diet instead...

Steve
The Orions did exactly that for me. And a side-effect of the MLW mod is to shed another 3 lb. I did let my own weight get up a bit last year but that has been corrected. And more than both of these combined :)
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Re: Contemplating long-term suitability of a DA40 for family of 4

Post by TimS »

Rich wrote: I did let my own weight get up a bit last year but that has been corrected. And more than both of these combined :)
Nice, I am down ten pounds from last (had to lose it twice, French mother in law visited and I gained about a pound a week for ten weeks.
Goal is lose ten lbs a year until I hit my target, problem is my target keeps changing....

Tim
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