AVALON: GippsAero close to finalising GA10 and GA18 designs

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GippsAero will shortly start taking deposits for its new GA10, a stretched version of the GA8 Airvan utility turboprop, and the relaunched GA18 Nomad, as the Australian manufacturer comes close to completing its market surveys to define the aircraft.

The Rolls-Royce 250 B17F2-powered GA10 will be based on the high-wing, low-cost design of the GA8, says Terry Miles, chief executive. The Victoria-based company is aiming to fly a prototype of the eight- to 10-seater in October with certification and first delivery following by 2013. The GA18's first flight will follow in late 2013, with deliveries starting in 2014.

"We're surveying the market to get the definitions right and to really understand the niche," says Miles, adding that its surveys are showing a lot of interest in both types. Long-standing GA8 customer Mission Aviation Fellowship, for example, is particularly supportive of the GA10 development, says Miles.

The development of both aircraft has been made possible through the purchase of GippsAero by Mahindra Aerospace in late 2009, with the Indian company investing $20 million in GippsAero product development over the next two years.

Developments are unlikely to stop there, with Miles seeing a long-term strategy that could include the development of a new low-wing family of aircraft with 50 or 70 seats.

Meanwhile, the manufacturer has finalised details of a float programme for the turbocharged GA8TC with Wipaire, which will see it bring a float version to market in 2012.