Desert Aircraft DA-50 R

REVIEW

Specifications:

Bore/Stroke:
Displacement
Weight (bare engine):
Props:
Peak RPM:
Rated Horsepower:

42.6mm/35mm
50cc
2.94 pounds
22x8-24x8
22x8 CF@ 7200
5.0

da50r-01.jpg (12212 bytes)

This is the finest 50cc engine you can own.

Aside from the advertised features, there's a lot more here than meets the eye. Desert Aircraft service is second to no one. I purchased my DA-50 (virtually new) from an individual, so I called DA to see about transferring the Warranty. NO problem, as its a matter of serial number. The serial number dictates how much warranty is left. Parts are reasonably priced, readily available, and you receive them in short order.

OK, about the engine. I have owned, and do own many engines and have been flying since 1969. The DA-50 R is by far the easiest starting, and best running engine I have owned in all these years. I have always avoided buying  DA engines because I thought they were too expensive. That was a terrible mistake on my part. DA products are worth every penny... if quality and service means anything to you.

The fit and finish of a DA-50 R is the best of the best.You can just look at the engine and see that there's a lot of fine detail machining there. DA's ignition isn't an after-thought, but a well engineered intrigal part of the engine.The power rating is very accurate, and the DA 50 has the smoothest throttle responce you could possibly hope for. I do a lot of low-speed high-thrust flying, and precision throttle management is manditory. On my other engines, I have to map the throttle on the transmitter to get smooth & linear power. My DA 50 is perfect with no throttle mapping what so ever. There are a lot of exhaust configurations available but I happen to have the Pitts muffler. It works extremely well.

There "might" be more powerful 50cc engines out there (somewhere) but you won't find a better running engine than this one, and the service is beyond reproach. When you stop and think about it, DA engines are a bargain.

 My DA-50 is in a 14 pound GP 1/4 scale RV-4. I use a Biela 3 blade 19x10 Carbon Fiber prop and I have to tell you that my DA-50 spools this prop up better than ALL the rest of my 50cc engines, bar none. The DA 50 down-line braking is the best I have flown since day one. Last but not least, the DA 50 is super smooth running at any RPM, just make sure your prop & spinner is well balanced. Would I buy another DA engine? In a New York second.    

da50front.jpg (54166 bytes)

I have always been fond of high-powered (possibly over powered) airplanes. This one takes the cake. This is my Great Planes 1/4th scale RV-4. It has had several engines as I was looking for the "PERFECT" match. I'm not looking for speed, but super smooth and linear power. After several engines, I got the opportunity to own a virtually new DA-50. I jumped on this. The engine had less the 1/2 gallon run through it. I installed the DA-50 using 3" standoff's  to provide good carb inlet clearance. Because one of the "other" engines weighed more, balancing was easy. I use a Biela 19x10 Carbon Fiber prop mostly for ground clearance, and it takes a lot of engine torque to spool up this prop. The DA-50 handles it well, turning an incredable 6900 RPM. This is the RPM range I was looking for, while yielding well over 22 pounds of thrust. The RV-4 weighs a little over14 pounds fueled & ready to fly. The engine is so smooth running it's scary.

My first flight consisted of a slow advance to about 1/4 throttle and full up elevator. It lifted off in about 12 feet and proceeded in a straight-up vertical climb at 1/2 throttle. I climbed to about 400 feet then chopped the throttle. The RV fell into a gentle straight-down air-brake dive, and the smoothest I have ever done. The engine sounded great! Next, I went to full power and climbed straight up vertical again to about 500 feet, pulled the throttle to about 1/3 and threw the RV into a perfect inverted flat-spin. The decent was totally managed by accurate throttle from the DA-50. After about 30 minutes of assorted aerobatics, it was time to land. The throttle control was so smooth and perfect that I could accurately touch-down the airplane anywhere I wanted.

My DA-50 never skipped a beat from long inverted idles to straight up full power and straight down air-braking. I have never owned an engine that was this reliable.

So you may wonder what makes this engine and Desert Aircraft so special?
The crankcase is 100% CNC Machined from T-6, 6061 Aluminum barstock. The crankcase area is as small as it can possibly be, thus enhancing air/fuel transfer. It uses a cantelever crankshaft, this also minimizes crankcase area. The induction is 4 pedal V reed, topped with a Walbro carb. DA adds some nice anodized components as well as configuring the carb orientation for easy tune-up. This allows for fast and efficient transfer as well as generating excellent low-speed crankcase pressure for maximum lowend power. The intake ports utilize transfer as well as booster ports.This generates good broad-band horsepower. The cylinder uses both horizontal and vertical cooling fins, this keeps the heat transfer efficient regardless of engine load. The ignition is an electronic module with RPM controlled spark advance. The DA-50 R is a super high quality engine with an emphasis on durability and linear power. Each engine has a serial number so DA knows precisely when its made. This ensures good Quality Control from production, by tracking each warranty repair and analyzing the data. I don't know of another engine maker that goes to this much trouble to ensure your flying experience is the best it can possibly be. Lastly, the turn around for repairs is incredable. Typically you will see your engine back to you  in a matter of days. My "brand X" engine took 3 months to get it returned to me.

The  folks at Desert Aircraft don't know me from Adam, but I always get treated like royalty evertime I have called. This is what DA is all about, Customer Service and Customer Satisfaction.        

Desert Aircraft

 

Copyright 2007 M. B. Fuess