A year ago today, I was at the headquarters of GippsAero, now a subsidiary of India’s Mahindra Aerospace. George Morgan, who founded the company in 1983 with Peter Furlong, was my host for the day. The Australian company is best known in the United States for its GA8 (“GA” for Gippsland Aerospace, and “8″ for eight passengers) Airvan single-engine utility airplane.
While I was there, the company’s newest model, the turboprop GA10–yes, it seats up to 10 people–was busy making test flights. At the time, they were hoping for certification in late 2013. A quick online search turns up no indication that certification has been granted; guess I’ll be looking into this in the near future.
George and I had lunch in Traralgon, a town maybe 5 miles from the airport. Actually, I had been here before–the previous afternoon, to pick up my rental car–but had no idea that I had a bookstore here. Probably was too busy remembering to drive on the wrong side of the road to see it.
Although there’s no MU-2 flying today, I do manage about 45 minutes in a GA8 Airvan late in the afternoon with Dave Wheatland. (This time is not counted in the trip totals, by the way.) The Airvan really flies a lot like a Cessna 172–stable, predictable, even the airspeeds are familiar–but the similarity ends when the pilot turns around, as I did after landing, to see a veritable sea of seats (see photo above).
Click here to see last year’s Day 13 blog post, with more information about GippsAero and the Airvan–and no duplicate photos!