Since 2010 was the Centenary of Powered Flight in Australia, then what better way to celebrate this milestone event than to fly the first Australian designed and manufactured aircraft around the world!
And the turbo-charged Airvan, built by Gipps Aero in the La Trobe Valley, was that aircraft!
The brainchild of George Morgan and Peter Furlong was built for the most rugged environments in the world, and VH-BYI was more than up to the task of circumnavigating the globe. Powered by a Lycoming TIO-540-AH1A Turbocharged fuel injected engine, the GA8-TC Airvan has a cruise speed of 140 knots at 10,000 feet with 75% power.
The dimensions of the aircraft are as follows:
- Length: 29 ft 4.3 in (8.949m)
- Wingspan: 40 ft 8.68 in (12.412m)
- Height: 12 ft 9 in (3.885m)
- Wing Area: 208 sq ft (18.75m2)
- Wing Loading: 19.2 lb/sq ft (96.75 kg/m2)
The design weight and capacities of the GA8-TC Airvan are as follows:
- Maximum Take Off Weight: 4000 lb (1814 kg)
- Maximum Landing Weight: 4000 lb (1814 kg)
- Typical Empty IFR Equipped Weight: 2330 lb (1060 kg)
- Maximum Useful Load: 1650 lb (750 kg)
- Optional Cargo Pod – Capacity: 440 lb (200 kg)
For this world-first flight, a 1000 litre ferry tank was installed behind the pilot’s seats. Throughout the flight, the average fuel burn was 60 litres per hour with the average altitude being 9,000 feet.