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Published on Jan 19, 2011
Looking For A Little Extra Elbow Room?
You can't help but look at an Airvan and think that the folks who came up with this airplane don't seem to do things in any small way. Yup... GippsAero thinks big... and lately, they've been thinking BIG Turbo.
Last summer, both the FAA and EASA certificated the new turbocharged GA8-TC 320 Airvan. The GA8-TC 320 is powered by a turbocharged Lycoming TIO-540-AH1A rated to 320 horsepower at 40 inches of manifold pressure at 2500 rpm from sea level to 5000 feet. Above 5000 feet the TIO-540-AH1A is rated to maintain 300 horsepower at 38 inches of manifold pressure at 2500 rpm. The GA8-TC 320 features a Hartzell 80 inch diameter, scimitar design three blade propeller. The turbocharged engine enhances the performance of the already extremely versatile Airvan with improved climbing and high altitude performance.
Several GA8-TC 320 Airvans are already working all over the world with some of the earliest deliveries racking up hours in Australia, the southern Alps of New Zealand, the mountainous high lands of Papua New Guinea and one in France with skydive operator ChuteXtrem.
GippsAero delivered its first production GA8 Airvan in December 2000 and was awarded an FAA type certificate in 2003 followed by EASA certification in 2005. Over 150 Airvans have been manufactured at the company's Latrobe Regional Airport base east of Melbourne in Victoria. Nearly one hundred Airvans have been exported, including sixteen for the USAF Auxiliary, the Civil Air Patrol, for use in Homeland Security and search and rescue missions. World wide the Airvan is operated for a diverse range of uses including humanitarian aid, passenger and freight hauling, sightseeing, surveillance and bush fire reconnaissance missions.
The Airvan features a large cabin, an impressive payload and very docile handling characteristics. The Airvan is certificated to FAR 23, Amendment 55. The company notes that Airvan operating costs are very low due to the use of simple, robust, systems with easy access resulting in low maintenance requirements. The new GA8-TC 320 is the latest addition to GippsAero product line, though plans are in the works to offer a new 10 seat turbo prop utility aircraft, the GA10, along with plans to return the sixteen passenger twin turboprop engine N24 to production.
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