The California Highway Patrol (CHP) chose Mahindra Aerospace’s GippsAero GA8 Airvan in a competitive bidding process for an airborne surveillance aircraft. The CHP currently flies 26 aircraft, including some Cessna 206s that have logged more than 10,000 hours. According to Gary Standel, president of West Coast Aircraft Sales (WCAS), the CHP selected the GA8 because “we were the lowest-cost bidder able to be fully compliant with bid requirements.” WCAS specializes in ISR-configured solutions and is the western U.S. Airvan distributor. Paravion Technology of Ft.
GippsAero, the Australia-based aircraft manufacturer owned by India’s Mahindra Aerospace, introduced a new executive interior option for its seven-seat GA8 Airvan today at the Sun ’n’ Fun Fly-In in Lakeland, Fla. One of the two Airvans it is displaying this week at the show has the executive cabin option.
GippsAero’s beefy boxcar of an airplane may look ungainly, but once you climb in and fire up its 320-hp turbocharged Lycoming TIO-540, pull the flaps lever all the way up and push the throttle to 40 inches of manifold pressure, the big single leaps forward and soars into the sky where it belongs.
Sales and product support specialist Hawker Pacific is due to hand over the keys of the 200th GippsAero GA8 Airvan to a customer in Asia this week. The sale came about as a direct result of a sales tour, which secured significant interest for the aircraft from countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines.
India’s Mahindra Aerospace inaugurated a 270,000-sq-ft aerostructures manufacturing plant last week at the Narsapura Industrial Estate near Bangalore. The plant opening accompanied an announcement by Mahindra that it signed a technology partnership agreement with Spanish Tier 1 supplier Aernnova Group, the first for Aernnova with an Indian aerostructures manufacturer.
The AgustaWestland deal in India for AW101 helicopters that is being investigated after bribery allegations has prompted the Indian government to re-examine its already delayed defense procurement procedure 2013 (DPP). This is now focusing on “indigenization,” which defense minister A.K. Antony described recently as the “ultimate solution to the scourge of corruption.”
Though largely overshadowed by a heavy military presence, the business aviation sector made its voice heard at last month’s Aero India show in Bangalore (February 6 to 10). Serious obstacles continue to stand in the way of those trying to fulfill bizav’s undoubted potential in this vast emerging market (see box), but this has not deterred the major manufacturers from increasing their presence in India.
Mahindra Aerospace, currently India’s only manufacturer of light aircraft for private/utility use, is preparing to open its new 270,000-sq-ft facility near Bangalore. This will be used for manufacturing metal components, aircraft assemblies and aerostructures, according to executive director and global CEO Arvind Mehra.
GippsAero, manufacturer of the GA8 Airvan utility aircraft, appointed three new parts and technical support distributors to its global network. (The company recently appointed Soloy Aviation Solutions to serve the U.S. market.)Hawker Pacific will focus on the Asian region and will exclusively support GippsAero’s existing and new clients across Asian countries. Gipps has appointed Piper Parts to support all countries throughout Europe, and Airvan Africa to cover all of Africa.