September 15, 2011
By Alton K. Marsh
In a joint public and private development effort, a prototype fixed-gear single-engine aircraft designed in India has flown in Australia. It was built by GippsAero, the Australian manufacturer of the Airvan, a company owned since 2010 by Mahindra Aerospace of Mumbai, India.
The aircraft flew Sept. 1, but the flight was not announced until Sept. 14. The all-metal five-place aircraft, powered by a Lycoming IO-540 engine, is designated the C-NM5. It was designed by India’s National Aerospace Laboratories and Mahindra Aerospace. It was built in 10 months in Australia.
Additional flights have taken place since Sept. 1. The aircraft will be certificated in a number of countries and sold worldwide. GippsAero did not include performance or technical details in its initial announcement. A report in the Financial Times said the aircraft will cost between $350,000 and $400,000. The Times said there are plans to produce two-seat, eight-seat, 10-seat, and 18-seat aircraft in the future. Aviation analysts interviewed for the Times report expressed doubt that India has the airport infrastructure to support travel by small aircraft.
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