Yesterday I picked up the latest edition of Plane & Pilot Magazine and came across a great article about flying the Diamond DA40 Diamond Star. The Diamond Star has always been an airplane on the cutting edge of aircraft design. It has continued to evolve since its original certification over a decade ago. The DA40 now comes with an all glass cockpit - thanks to its Garmin 1000 avionics package - which is as advanced as any I have used in today’s modern airliners.
I have personal experience with the DA40 because ATP owns several of them. ATP has recently made them available to the flying public for a number of uses. Pilots can get a four hour block of flight time in the DA40, which can be used in any reasonable fashion the pilot desires. The Diamond Star block time also includes the services of one of ATP’s professional Flight Instructors. A pilot could use the time for a Biennial Flight Review or an Instrument Proficiency Check for example. The time could be used for flight training in pursuit of a certificate or an additional rating. It could be used for gaining hands-on Glass Cockpit experience using the Garmin 1000. A pilot could also use the time for a leisurely cross-country flight or to master a tricky flight maneuver. Just let the Instructor know what you would like to do and they will make it a very safe learning experience.
ATP also uses the DA40 to offer Introductory Flights for people who are looking for their first thrilling experience flying an airplane. The Intro Flight includes an online training course to be completed before the flight itself, which makes it a much more enjoyable experience.
ATP continues to provide these kinds of innovative flight training opportunities and scores of pilots will benefit from them. It will also be exciting to watch people who aren't yet pilots enjoy the thrill of flight for the first time. They will be bitten by the same flying bug that I was many years ago when I took my first flight. It will be the beginning a very long and beautiful relationship with aviation that will be enjoyed for a lifetime.