The Diamond made Katana was my first solo power aircraft. I flew with the Diamond flight Center (DFC) in London, Ontario during the summer of 2012. For a new solo pilot, London was a very busy airspace, full of commercial, military and other private aircraft. However, the Katana still managed to make flying enjoyable if not beautiful under these stressful conditions. With an impressive glide ratio for a power aircraft, beautiful flight characteristics, responsive controls and a well designed control column, I have to say I am truly lucky that this aircraft was my solo/training aircraft.
Unlike many private aircraft, the aircraft uses push rods instead of control stings to move the control surfaces such as the ailerons: they control the 'roll' of an aircraft. This results in immediate reaction from control inputs by the pilot. This makes the aircraft very responsive, and easy to make it do what you want it to do without much delay. While on the topic of aircraft controls, I love flying aircraft with a stick instead of a yoke. (A yoke is like a steering wheel) The Katana has a beautiful cockpit layout and feels like you are stepping into a fighter aircraft as soon as you set foot in one. I guess the cadet flight suit also helped with that!
The only problem I have ever had with the Katana is flying in very hot weather. This can be very difficult. Due to the aircraft being made of plastics, it is possible for the aircraft to melt if it gets too hot. The cut-off temperature of approximately thirty-five degrees Celsius can be easily reached during modern summers, and even when flying bellow these temperatures, cabin ventilation is horrible. With a large bubble cockpit window letting the sun in to heat up the cockpit, you only have two hand sized windows to open while taxiing. You cannot open the canopy after you start the engine due to the way the aircraft was designed. The airflow from the prop would tear the canopy right off, and will possibly total your tail from this as well.
The Katana is licensed for most standard maneuvers such as stalls and spins, and are a joy for a fun flight with a friend. The aircraft has excellent visibility and at times, seems to have neutral stability, which means it stays where you put it without getting worse, or getting better (going back to straight and level flight) While being a very fun and friendly aircraft with a G1000 high tech glass cockpit available, I still enjoy the old "steam gauge" style as well. Both are effective, for I have had experience in both, and enjoyed them equally)
Overall, The Katana is a real joy to fly. It is a very fun aircraft and does the job you give it well. It is a very economic aircraft with a flying time and of around four hours on a full tank of 24 gallons, (burning an average of six gallons an hour) and can easily maintain a glide slope for a nice, soft landing. Overall, While it is true that it may be limited by the temperature due to its fibreglass and plastic design, in every other way, it is a remarkable aircraft.