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The view: Around Wiener Neustadt, Austria

The pilot: Bob Bickford

The airplane: Diamond DA40NG

The mission: Visit to the Diamond Aircraft factory in Austria

The memory: Two years ago, my daughter and I were “free form” traveling together (on the ground) around Europe for ten days. She was then going to send the “old man” home, and spend another two weeks traveling with a friend. We decided to go to Vienna as we worked our way to Munich to meet up with her travel mate. After we arrived in Vienna a lightbulb went off: the Diamond factory was somewhere in Austria! I was a student pilot at the time, and own a 2004 Diamond DA40. I wondered if a visit to the Diamond factory might be added to the agenda. In one of those “yahoo moments” it turned out that the Diamond factory was just a thirty-minute train ride from Vienna. An email inquiry to Diamond resulted in an invite for a tour of the plant in Neustadt the next day. After a fantastic tour I was surprised by an offer to fly, right seat, with one of their test pilots, in a DA40NG. Pretty sure no one has ever said no to that offer, and I was not going to be the first. Long story short, I will never forget those ten special days traveling with my daughter, the generosity of the folks at Diamond, or that incredible flight. The country side out the window was picture perfect (more pictures here and here), and where else can you fly over a castle on your approach to your destination airfield? And did I mention I flew their DA42NG twin, left seat, into Innsbruck, with a simulated power off landing? OK, it was in their full motion simulator, but still….

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Robert Bickford
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