DA20 on an IFR flight plan?


Well-Known Member
Is it legal to fly a DA20 on an IFR flight plan? The airplane has all the required IFR instruments, but lacks the IFR certification because of the lack of lightning protection. I did some searching here and found an old thread that mentioned a reference to FAA Order 8700.1 that says that it can be done. However, on the FAA's website, this order has been canceled. Is there a newer FAA Order that addresses this issue? Or, is it just illegal now?

Thanks in advance for your help.

- David


Well-Known Member
As I recall (not sure), the prohibition is against a DA20 flying in the clouds due to lack of protection, not to flying on an IFR flight plan.

The old Ordedr 8700.1 is incorporated into ORDER 8900.1 - Flight Standards Information Management System (FSIMS) which is available at http://fsims.faa.gov Have fun searching; it's huge and covers a lot of different things (as did the okd 8700)


Well-Known Member
Mark, you are the man!

I found it. ORDER 8900.1, Volume 5.

5-439 USE OF AIRCRAFT NOT APPROVED FOR IFR OPERATIONS UNDER ITS TYPE CERTIFICATE FOR INSTRUMENT TRAINING AND/OR AIRMAN CERTIFICATION TESTING. The following paragraphs are intended to clarify the use of an aircraft not approved for IFR operations under its type certificate for instrument flight training and/or airman certification testing.

A. IFR Training in Visual Meteorological Conditions (VMC). Instrument flight training may be conducted during VMC in any aircraft that meets the equipment requirements of part 91 , sections (§§) 91.109 , 91.205 , and, for an airplane operated in controlled airspace under the IFR system, §§ 91.411 and 91.413 . An aircraft may be operated on an IFR flight plan under IFR in VMC, provided the PIC is properly certificated to operate the aircraft under IFR. However, if the aircraft is not approved for IFR operations under its type certificate, or if the appropriate instruments and equipment are not installed or are not operative, operations in Instrument Meteorological Conditions (IMC) are prohibited. The PIC of such an aircraft must cancel the IFR flight plan in use and avoid flight into IMC.

Thank you! :D


Vocals, Lyrics, Triangle, Washboard, Kittens
wow, I didn't know that about the DA20.... makes it half as useful IMO

Yeah, but I think it's marketed as a trainer, and according to the above stuff, you can do a good chunk of your IFR training in it.

It's not a real practical airplane for transportation, IMO. Two seats, and extremely limited cargo room. Yeah, it's fun to fly but there isn't a lot of utility.

Probably helps the DA-40 sales, too. :)


Vocals, Lyrics, Triangle, Washboard, Kittens
I think it just hasn't had the required testing done yet. In the future it will be approved for IMC flying, I believe. I could be wrong.

Respectfully, I disagree for a couple reasons.

1) It's already an expensive airplane. Adding the lightning protection stuff to make it compliant is going to add to the price.

2) That will cut into marketshare for the DA-40 - why would they shoot themselves in the feet, per se?

IMO, what limits the utility of the DA-20 is the size and design, not necessarily whether it can go IMC. I mean, it's fun to fly - I've got about 1.5 hours in it and I had a BLAST flying it. It feels light and nimble, like a fighter might feel. But knowing that I can only get one pax and a tiny bag in it screws up what I'd want to do with an airplane.

That's just me, though. Maybe I'm wrong. It has happened before. :)


Well-Known Member
The -20 needs significant stregthening of the wing spar to also make it IFR certified.

I actually did about 97% of my Instrument training in the DA-20. Was a fine and excellent airplane to do it honestly. The other 3% were in the DA-40 on IFR flight plans for training.

Checkride was in the DA-20.


Gone West
I did 100% of my IR and CFII in a DA20.

Other problems with the 20 on an IFR flight plan, especially around here is performance at high density altitudes. With MEAs starting at 11000 and going up, climbing that last few thousand feet is at about the rate of 1-300 FPM depending on the day.

The last time I tried it (hot day) we could not climb past 11000 at all and had to cancel IFR.