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
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.