Gippsland Gets Paperwork, Looks To U.S. Market

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Gippsland Aeronautics officials are seriously considering shifting some of the manufacturing on their Oz-built GA8 Airvan to the U.S. Right now the company is spending $20 -- $30 thousand dollars to ship the "virtually 100% American parts" to Australia where they are put together, then take the plane apart, containerize it and send it back to customers in the U.S. "Just doesn't make economic sense to do it that way," Gippsland CEO George Morgan told AVweb. Gippsland is pushing the plane as the intelligent (and FAA certified) alternative to a big Cessna, claiming double the useful load and space as the Cessna 182 and 206, but the same operational cost. Morgan hopes a lot will start happening now that the company has the official FAA certification for the GA8 AirVan firmly in hand. Though Morgan and company were presented with the official production certificate at AirVenture, they actually earned it in 2003. "All the years of design and development, and the end result was the fax machine spits out a long piece of paper [the FAA certification]." says Morgan. Oshkosh was the first place the two sides could meet face-to- face for the official paper pushoff. The big thing about certification, obviously, is that the GA8 can be sold and operated commercially in the States. Several have already been sold to the Civil Air Patrol and are being delivered now. Market-driven options such as a cargo pod and possibly an autopilot, a turbocharged version, floats and a winterization kit with tundra tires will be offered in the future. www.gippsaero.com