Air Queensland.blogspot recently spent a few days soaking up the magnificent weather and scenery at Airlie Beach / The Whitsundays and naturally took an opportunity to enjoy some planespotting at Shute Harbour / Whitsunday Airport.
Over the next couple of weeks or so, a number of posts will be published to not only share the experience, but take a look at some of the local operators.
Among a small fleet of fixed winged aircraft and helicopters based at Shute Harbour / Whitsunday Airport is GippsAero (Mahindra Aerospace) GA8 Airvan VH-ASI. Manufactured in 2015, this near new high-wing aircraft is operated by GSL Aviation (more about them soon) in a variety roles including sightseeing, passenger transfers and private charters.
Powered by a single 300hp (220kw) Textron Lycoming IO-540-K1A5, 6 cylinder, air-cooled piston engine, VH-ASI was manufactured in Victoria, Australia by GippsAero (formerly Gippsland Aeronautics), a member of the Mahindra Group of companies.
Of interest the GA8 Airvan was designed to fulfill a perceived niche market that fits between the Cessna 206 and Cessna 208 models and predominately used as a platform to transfer passengers / tourist aswell as freight, sightseeing, parachuting, observation and search & rescue missions.
The GA8 Airvan is capable of accommodating seven passengers (plus a pilot), cruise at 130 knots (240km/h), achieve an approximate range of 1 011km (546nm) and certified to a service ceiling 14 500ft (4 420m). These figures are based on the normally aspirated (non-turbo) version.