DART-550 (Diamond Aircraft Reconnaissance Trainer) is the second variant of the DART series developed by Austrian aircraft manufacturer, Diamond Aircraft Industries.
DART series aircraft are intended for civilian and military pilot training, aerobatic, utility, and reconnaissance missions. The series was first introduced at the Farnborough Airshow 2014, while the first aircraft in the series, DART-450, made its maiden flight in May 2016.
The aircraft is designed primarily for aerobatic training purposes and is also available in multiple variants with varying power rating, avionics, and seat configuration.
The maiden flight of the DART-550 took place in May 2018 and the aircraft was first displayed to the public during the Farnborough Airshow 2018. First customer demonstration flights were made in April 2019, when Paraguay Air Force and the airforce of an undisclosed European country participated.
EASA certification process of the DART-550 is underway as of May 2019. The aircraft is expected to receive type certification by the first quarter of 2021.
DART-550 aerobatic trainer aircraft design and features
Built using carbon fibre materials, the DART-550 trainer features low-wing configuration with double-slotted wing flaps, which help attain maximum lift, low stalling speeds, and short-distance landings.
The wing leading edge is fitted with de-icing system to ensure uninterrupted flight during adverse weather conditions.
Wings are designed to accommodate large internal fuel tanks, which can support aircraft flight for eight hours. They are tested to withstand 0.65 Mach speeds in the wind tunnel.
Retractable tricycle landing gear is designed to absorb high impact and operate on unpaved surfaces.
The aerobatic trainer aircraft features electric control seats in tandem configuration with a bird strike-proof canopy. The seats are designed to provide enhanced comfort and an improved view.
The total wingspan of the aircraft is 11.79m, while its length is 9.75m and total height is 3.43m.
DART-550 cockpit and avionics
DART-550 features an advanced Garmin G3000 dual glass cockpit for the pilot and trainer in the front and rear.
Its avionics include 14.1in WXGA resolution primary flight display and multi-function display, 5.7in dual Garmin touchscreen controllers (GTCs) GTC 570, a pilot interface for flight display with infrared technology allowing the pilots to use gloves.
The Garmin G3000 system offers round-the-globe communication, navigation, surveillance, and air traffic management (CNS / ATM), low flight warning using terrain awareness warning system (TAWS), and global automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B) system.
Garmin G3000 system
Fingertip Control Meets Integrated Flight Deck
- Advanced flight deck for light turbine jets
- Bright high-resolution displays with SVT™ let you see clearly even in IFR conditions
- Displays divide into 2 pages to help display multiple systems and sensors
- Intuitive touchscreen interface with shallow menus and audible feedback
- Automatic Flight Guidance and Control Systems
- Weather, charts, traffic, terrain and Global connectivity options
This digital avionics suite revolutionizes the interface between pilots and electronics: Streamlining menu structures. Eliminating visual clutter. Replacing a whole host of mechanical knobs, buttons and selector switches. What’s more, by centralizing data entry in one easy-to-access location, G3000 takes flight deck management to a whole new level — giving pilots more focused control with less wasted motion and effort. In short, your fingertips have never touched anything quite like this.
A new glass touchscreen controller, the GTC serves as your primary point of entry for the G3000 system. Featuring a desktop-style, icon-driven interface built on a new “shallow” menu structure, the GTC enables you to access more systems and sensors with fewer keystrokes or page sequences. Its user interface is totally software-based. So, it’s easily configurable for specific airframes and avionics configurations. What’s more, future enhancements, applications and system growth capabilities can be readily accommodated without physically altering the mechanical controls.
Responsive, icon-identified “touchkeys” on the GTC controller make functions easy to locate and access with fewer hand/eye movements in the cockpit. In addition to full NAV/COMM radio management and simplified page navigation on the MFD, you can also use the 5.7-inch high-resolution GTC screen to control your remote audio/intercom system, as well as transponder codes and idents, electronic checklist entries, flight plan entry and editing, plus optional synoptic data and other selected mapping, traffic, weather, entertainment, and custom display options*. What’s more, handy “Back” and “Home” keys on the display let you quickly retrace steps or return to the desktop from any page — so you’ll never get lost in the software or need to memorize lengthy user sequences. The GTC controller can even double as a standby flight display in some configurations. Simplicity just comes naturally with G3000’s touchscreen design. Source garmin.com
The aircraft’s flight is controlled using the hands-on throttle-and-stick (HOTAS) system. A side-stick control system is fitted to enable manual control of the aircraft.
Other avionics systems can be fitted optionally based on customer and mission requirements.
The aircraft allows for the integration of high-resolution cameras to support multi-role operations.
Martin-Baker’s MK16 lightweight ejector seats are fitted in the aircraft to train pilots on basic flying skills and ejection techniques. The ejector seat provides quick escape when the aircraft is travelling at maximum velocity within certain parameters.
The MK16 ejection system is operated by cartridges powered by a rocket motor. The ejection is sequenced by the use of a gas-operated inter-seat sequencing system (ISS).
Martin-Baker’s MK16 ejector seats
The JPATS (Joint Primary Aircraft Training System) is designed to train students in basic flying skills and is common to the U.S. Air Force and Navy. Designated the US16LA, this lightweight ejection seat is designed for training aircraft, such as the T-6 Texan II.
It optimises the pilot field of view, improves comfort and pilot efficiency, and provides increased reliability and maintainability. With the Mk16 lightweight low-speed seat, ejection performance is optimised throughout the escape envelope, from zero height at zero velocity in a near level attitude through to 370 knots. It is designed to accommodate a very wide size and weight range.
US16LA EJECTION SEAT
- Operating Ceiling: 50 000ft (15,250m)
- Minimum height/Speed: Zero/zero in near level attitude
- Crew boarding mass range: 62.3 to 123.0 kg
- Crew size range: JPATS multi-variate body size cases 1 to 7
- Maximum Speed for ejection: 370 KIAS (aircraft limit 316 KIAS)
- Parachute type: GQ Type 5000
- Parachute deployment: Cartridge initiated
- Drogue parachute: 5 ft
- Drogue deployment: Cartridge initiated and deployed
- Harness type: Torso
- Ejection seat operation type: Ejection guns and underseat rocket motor
- Ejection gun: Twin
- Ejection initiation: Handle on seat bucket initiates gas operated seat firing system
- Automatic back-up unit: No, manual override
- Electronic sequencer: No
- Barostatic time-release unit: Yes + g-restrictor, cartridge initiated
- Timers: Time delays in sequencing system
- Seat adjustment: Up/down actuator operated 28 Vdc
- Arm restraints: No
- Leg restraints: Yes, two garters
- Oxygen supply: Bottled emergency oxygen
- Personal survival pack (PSP): Yes + automatic deployment
- Aircrew services: Connection to emergency oxygen supply
- Command ejection: Yes, via Interseat Sequencing System (ISS)
- Canopy jettison: No
- Canopy fracturing system: Yes
- Interseat Sequencing System (ISS): Yes
DART-550 engine and performance
The airframe of the DART-550 aerobic trainer aircraft is designed to accommodate a power plant with an output of 1,000hp. The aircraft is powered by General Electric GE H75-100 turboprop engine coupled to five-blade reversible MTV-5-1-E-C-F-R(P) MT propeller with feathering functionality.
GE H75-100 turboprop engine
The GE H75 expands the GE Aviation turboprop lineup with power and performance tailored for business and general aviation aircraft. Featuring a maximum 750 SHP rating for both Takeoff and Maximum Continuous operation, the H75 is the ideal power solution to meet the requirements of many turboprop aircraft.
The GE H75 features sophisticated technologies to reach higher levels of performance than preceding engine models. These technologies deliver sustained shaft horsepower capability for hot-day takeoffs and high altitude performance combined with improved engine fuel efficiency and increased temperature margins.
In addition, the unique conﬁguration of the engine simplifies maintenance by eliminating the need for recurrent fuel nozzle maintenance and periodic hot section inspections.
With the standard auto start and limiting unit for ground operations along with linear throttle response, the GE H75 eases pilot workload and enhances engine value and operability. Source air-tecm.com
The aircraft requires a take-off distance of 600m and landing roll of 400m. The maximum power required for take-off is 550hp, while the ceiling altitude is 7,600m. The power plant can produce 550hp of continuous power during level flight.
Fuel types such as Jet A-1, Jet A, TS-1, RT, No 3 jet fuel, and JP-8 can be used by the aircraft. The maximum usable fuel carried by the DART-550 is 826l and it has a flight endurance of more than eight hours.
The maximum take-off weight of the aircraft is 2,400kg, while its empty weight is 1,600kg. The top speed that it can fly at is 491km/h at 6,096m altitude.
Main material source airforce-technology.com
Images are from public domain unless otherwise stated
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