Flying Pickup on the selling block

Washington DC
This story is sourced from Flight International
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US-based General Aviation Technical Services (Gats) is selling its prototype Gavilan cargo aircraft, better known as the flying pickup truck, along with the drawings and information needed to recertificate the aircraft

Gats president John Bryerton expects to sell the entire project for roughly $1.5 million, most likely to a buyer from outside the USA.

Designed by former Piper Aircraft employees for Aero Mercantil, a Piper distributor in Bogotá, Colombia, the Lycoming TIO-540-powered single was built as a utility transport for delivering cargo to underdeveloped areas of South America. Cargo requirements included carrying 4 x 8ft (1.2 x 2.4m) sheets of plywood behind the crew.

The high-wing prototype, which cruises at 135kt (250km/h) and stalls at 60kt at full flaps, has 250h of flight time.

The prototype has been sitting idle since its US Federal Aviation Administration certification in 1998. El Gavilan, a company formed by Aero Mercantil to build the Gavilan, did not pay its share of the costs to Gats, says Bryerton. The two companies together spent more than $10 million on the project.

The Gavilan was certificated in Colombia and about 12 aircraft were built there, but no reciprocal agreement exists between Colombian authorities and the FAA on certification.

Gats in 2006 became the owner of the prototype and certification data after El Gavilan defaulted on its debt. Attempts this summer to get the FAA to transfer the type certificate to Gats were unsuccessful.