DA40 (early) vs. DA40 XLS

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Today, Diamond sales was in my town and had a mockup of the D-jet as
well as a DA40XLS and a DA42 on display.

I am 6'3'' and I have fairly long legs. In the DA40XLS I managed to
close the hood an had actually an inch or so of clearance before my
noggin hits the plexi or the frame ;)

So, plunk down a deposit and move on, right? Well, my budget tells me
that that won't work. What would work is one of the 2002/2003 'steam
gauge' DA40s floating around on 'controller.com' for about 1/2 the
price of a new XLS (if you can call a Garmin GNS430/530 combo 'steam

I like the seat position, it reminds me of the single seat gliders I
used to fly 15 years ago. I am just worried that I wouldn't fit into a
'first generation' DA40.

The guys from the company couldn't tell me, but do you know whether it
is possible to fit the front canopy from a XLS onto a 03 vintage
Diamond Star to gain some clearance ? (I was told it is the same
airframe and that all the gain is in the more bulbous canopy).

-- Florian Weilke, March 8, 2008


I too, am curious. I'm not as tall (at 6 foot), but have a longer torso and shorter legs. Sat in a DA-20 at our local flight training school and there was simply no way I could fit in the aircraft, as the canopy was rubs against my head. I've never had that problem in a Cessna. Makes me wish that aircraft reviews would include distance from the seat to the ceiling.

-- Lee Pounds, March 9, 2008

There is only one way to tell for sure - get in one.

I had one of the very first generation DA40's, and I was comfortable in it. I had shorter people who had issues with leg room or head room.

I can tell you that if you are thin like me, it really helps. The head room likely won't be an issue if you have plenty of room in the new ones. Leg room is an issue based on the length of you thigh and the size of your glutes (IOW Knee to back of chair). So height doesn't tell all.

At any rate, it doesn't matter much. You have to try it on. I have given lots of airplane demo's and you just never know what will be comfortable to each person until they try it. Everyone thinks the Cirrus is more comfortable than the DA40, but I could NOT find a comfortable seat combo. The ergonomics were just all wrong for me.

There are 2 steam guage panels that were made for the DA40 - The Austrian ones and the updated American ones. You can tell the original Austrian ones because they have 3 high instrument clusters compared to the 2 high ones on the later models. The later models offered about an inch and a half better knee room. I had an Austrian model, and it worked fine for me.

-- Eric Warren, July 15, 2008