Why is the DA20 not IFR certified and will it ever be?
No on both points. The DA20-C1 was designed to be a modern, low cost primary 2-seat trainer which is certified for flight in VMC Day/Night conditions and fills this role well. Since the DA20 s introduction in 1993,through mid 2012, a total of more than 1000 DA20 models have been built making it the most popular 2-place certified aircraft built in the last 20 years. The majority of these aircraft have been used in primary flight training throughout the US and in most developed countries around the globe. The aircraft offers the flight schools and private individuals the most modern, efficient, durable and sporty aircraft in its class.
Diamond has considered the possibility of certifying the aircraft for flight in IMC and has determined that this is not practical for several reasons. The cost of re certifying the DA20-C1 for flight in IMC would require the addition of a number of elements the most critical of which is lightning protection for the occupants, structure and aircraft systems. These changes would add significant additional cost and weight to the aircraft. As the vast majority of initial instrument training is conducted strictly in VFR conditions, many flight schools successfully utilize the DA20-C1 for all primary flight training up to private instrument. For those private owners or flight schools that require an IFR-certified aircraft, Diamond offers two models of the DA40 which can fill that need.
With the recent popularity of Light Sport Aircraft (LSA) in the US, owners have re-focused on how and why they fly. For many, reality is that even if they hold an instrument rating, their mission seldom, if ever, requires that they use the rating for IMC flight. VMC flight on an IFR flight plane is perfectly ok and very useful in navigating Temporary Flight Restrictions or TFR’s. When these owners look at the whole package, the DA20, while not an LSA, represents a tested, well-supported, safe, and easy-to-finance “True” sport aircraft.