GippsAero says first flight of its Rolls-Royce-powered GA10 single-engined 10-seat turboprop will occur "in a month or so", followed by first flight of the twin-engined, 18-seat GA18. Both aircraft are powered by the Rolls-Royce M250 B17F-2 engine.

The GA10 is a stretched version of the company's piston-powered GA8 Airvan, while the G18 is an updated version of the Australian government's N24 Nomad, a twin-engined high-wing turboprop design for which GippsAero obtained type certification in 2008. Australia-based GippsAero is an operating unit of India's Mahindra Aerospace.

The company plans to obtain Australian certification for the GA10 next year, followed by US Federal Aviation Administration certification thereafter. The company expects to finish the GA18 and begin deliveries in 2014.

In late 2009, Mahindra invested $20 million in GippsAero product development, leading to the new certification efforts, as well as work on a five-seat single-engined turboprop aircraft, the NM5, designed jointly by Mahindra and India's National Aerospace Laboratories and now at GippsAero facilities in Australia.

"We have proven it can fly - now we have to prove market viability," says George Morgan, director of technology at GippsAero.

The company has previously said its long-term strategy may include the development of a new low-wing family of aircraft with 50 or 70 seats.

Source: Flight International