Friday, May 31, 2013

A jet gets lost in the weeds

London, ON
June 2012
For more Thematic messiness, click here.
Behold the D-Jet, a bold attempt by Diamond Aircraft to crack the inexpensive business jet (an oxymoron, I know, but work with me) market.

I saw this prototype, registered as C-GVLJ, fly at an airshow in 2007. Back then, optimism was high that this plane would take a company known mostly for its prop-driven aircraft to new heights, literally and figuratively.

The road's been decidedly rocky for Diamond since then. They cancelled the jet program, then revived it, then in February suspended it because of high development costs and sagging sales of the piston-engined planes that were supposed to pay for it all. Then Diamond laid off most of their staff at their plant just beside London's airport.

I grabbed this picture last June because I suspected I'd never again see the plane in the flesh - and because the sight of something that had once held so much promise parked beside a double-wide and a hibachi, surrounded by choking weeds, struck me as somewhat poignant.

The company continues to showcase the plane on its website, so there's always hope. I guess I'm being a little ridiculous, as it's just a plane. But every time I drive by the empty parking lot, I think of the hundreds of employees who've now been scattered to the wind. In the end, the plane is merely the glue that holds a community together, and it saddens me to think of what's been lost in the process.


Karen S. said...

My hubby would love having this parked outside in the backyard- and it could fit!

Michael Manning said...

Cari: Fascinating, as Honda has been trying to get into this business.

Mike Wood said...

I drove by the empty lot when I went up to the Jet Aircraft Museum last month for their open house. Sad. Lots of potential. And unless they sell off the assets of the facility they could still bounce back. Canadian companies do have a bad track record of rising so high and then crashing back down. Nortel, Rim, Avro... I did shoot their piston planes outside their hangar when I was up there.