ANN Selects DA40 XLS as Plane of the Year
Each year, we put our heads together, look over reader input as well as our own reports and other sources of info and try to recognize the VERY BEST aircraft in a number of pivotal categories.
This particular series will cover the aircraft we consider to be the VERY BEST of the whole breed. In the past, we have broken these awards into a number of categories but the plain fact of the matter is while there is much to be thankful for as far as 2012 is concerned (the survival of the industry, most of all), there are few categories in which there were products that distinguished themselves sufficiently to permit such an award. So… we’re only going to offer awards to planes in categories in which there is a clear and pervasive winner…
Which brings us to the object of this year’s award… a solidly built little four seater built by a trustworthy company that has weathered a fair amount of tough times without selling its soul.
We speak, specifically, of the Diamond Aircraft DA40 XLS — an outstanding GA airplane with one of the most impressive safety records in recent times. With a modern glass cockpit and digital autopilot now available, the 150 knot DA40 XLS has a 720 nm range at 75% power, burning all of 10GPH — and can easily handle 20 kt crosswinds (and more… as I have personally confirmed for myself). Delightful handling, excellent low-speed manners, phenomenal crash-worthiness (despite comparatively few crashes to test such an attribute), incredible visibility, and lovely styling make the DA40 XLS a winner… even in an awful economy when justifying one’s flying dollars has become harder than ever. read more