Australian general aviation manufacturer Gippsland Aeronautics is expecting to receive Civil Aviation Safety Authority certification for its new turbocharged version of the GA8 Airvan utility aircraft in late February.

The Australian authority was conducting verification tests ahead of certification in late January.

Gippsland says the turbocharged Airvan "is pretty much the same aeroplane aft of the firewall other than engine instruments, but ahead of the firewall features a new engine, propeller and cowl". The aircraft is powered by the Textron Lycoming TIO-540-AH1A turbocharged, fuel-injected engine, and features Hartzell's HC-C3YR-1RF/F8068 three-blade constant speed propeller.

The manufacturer declines to comment on how many orders it has to date for the turbocharged version, but describes it as "an encouraging number". Two aircraft will be ready for delivery as soon as the paperwork is completed, with one going to long-standing Airvan customer Mission Aviation Fellowship for operation in Papua New Guinea, and the second one to Bathurst, New South Wales-based Air Freight Solutions.

 © Gippsland

Gippsland says it will have at least one and perhaps two turbocharged Airvans on display at next month's Australian International air show at Avalon airport, Geelong.

Meanwhile, the manufacturer says it is still working on the funds to bring an updated Nomad to market, something which it concedes is "not so easy right now". It adds: "However, we are making progress and we are getting close to resolution on this aspect."

Gippsland purchased the certificate of type for the Nomad from Boeing Australia last year, with plans to restart production of an upgraded version of the twin-turboprop, high-wing, short-field take-off and landing aircraft.

The Nomad was designed and produced by the former Australian Government Aircraft Factory (GAF) in the late 1960s, designed as a multirole transport aircraft for civil and military use. Production ceased in 1984 after safety concerns and operational issues. More than 50 Nomads are still flying, many operating with armed forces in South-East Asia.

Gippsland plans to update the Nomad with the latest version of the Rolls-Royce 250-B17F/2 engine that will provide it with more power, as well as lighter propellers, a glass cockpit and a number of minor changes aimed at reducing weight. The manufacturer only plans to build the larger 17-seat N24 version, and not the short fuselage 13-seat N22.

"The original plan was for delivery in late 2010. We can still achieve that at this stage, but it is getting tighter," says the manufacturer.

Source: Flight International