November 12, 2010
By Alton K. Marsh
It’s already flying elsewhere in the world, but AOPA Aviation Summit marks the first appearance in the United States of the turbocharged GippsAero GA-8 Airvan. There are 16 of the nonturbocharged aircraft now flying with the Civil Air Patrol.
It was certified by the FAA in July. It was initially certified by the Australian Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) in February 2009 and is certified in Europe. GippsAero reports that the turbocharged Airvan is selling well despite the global financial crisis, with 16 examples of the type now in service in a wide variety of roles. It recently completed an around-the-world flight to celebrate the centenary of powered flight in Australia and to raise funds for Malaria awareness.
It is powered by a turbocharged Lycoming TIO-540-AH1A rated to 320 horsepower at 40 inches of manifold pressure at 2,500 rpm from sea level to 5,000 feet. Above 5,000 feet, the TIO-540-AH1A is rated to maintain 300 hp at 38 inches of manifold pressure at 2,500 rpm. It features a Hartzell 80-inch diameter, scimitar-design, three-blade propeller. The turbocharged engine improves climb rate and high-altitude operations.
The Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF International Asia-Pacific) has added four turbocharged Airvans to its fleet of 14 Airvans for service in the rugged highlands of Papua New Guinea. Another aircraft is used for skydiving in France.
There are 156 Airvans both nonturbocharged and normally aspirated operating worldwide, with 100 of those exported from Australia to other nations. There are 16 in operation with the Civil Air Patrol for use in Homeland Security and search-and-rescue missions.
GippsAero has further projects in the pipeline including a new 10-seat entry-level turbo prop utility aircraft, the GA10, and plans to bring the GA18, a 16 passenger twin turboprop engine based on the GAF N24A, to manufacture.—Alton K. Marsh
AOPA Pilot Senior Editor Alton Marsh has been a pilot since 1970 and has an airline transport pilot certificate and instrument and multiengine flight instructor certificates, aerobatic training, and a commercial seaplane certificate.
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