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Aussie aviation icon to return to the sky

The first steps towards the relaunch of the Australian designed Nomad twin turboprop aircraft were taken at a ceremony held at Latrobe Regional Airport in eastern Victoria today. The event marked the handing over of the type certificate from Boeing Australia to Gippsland Aeronautics Pty Ltd.

Boeing Australia Limited has sold certification authority for the aircraft to the Australian-based general aviation manufacturer. The sale includes technical and spares sales support and all intellectual property for the Nomad aircraft worldwide. Financial terms are not being disclosed.

The Australian Government Aircraft Factory, later renamed Aerospace Technologies of Australia Ltd. (ASTA), designed the Nomad in 1965. The first prototype flew in 1971, and production concluded in 1984. Fifty-four Nomads remain operational worldwide.

Boeing Australia Limited acquired the Nomad type certificate in 1996 after The Boeing Company purchased the Rockwell group of businesses, including ASTA. Boeing maintained ASTA's close working relationship with the Commonwealth to support and maintain the aircraft's regulatory type requirements.

Representing the Commonwealth Government's interest in the Nomad the Federal Minister for Trade, the Hon Simon Crean MP said, "The Nomad is an aircraft that is a part of Australia's aviation history. It was originally designed and manufactured by the Government Aircraft Factories in Melbourne, but GA will develop a new aircraft for the 21st century. Australia is by no measure a major aviation and aerospace player – currently exports are running at $460 million compared with imports of $1.7 billion a year from the US alone. What GA has done is carry out independent research into the needs of a niche market. Through their research, they've identified a new potential source of export income that could deliver Australia an extra $700 million in export sales over the next decade".

Mr. Crean went on to say "GA is a major employer in Gippsland, with about 120 employees on the payroll, but the development and production of the new Nomad offers prospects of more than doubling the company's number of employees. The development of the new Nomad is a global deal, but one that will bring direct and indirect benefits to the region. The great thing about GA's success is that it highlights what Australian businesses – what Victorian businesses – can do if they play to their strengths. The Nomad will be an aircraft that offers great potential in remote areas, like GA's highly successful GA-8 Airvan. GA expects the Nomad to be exported to markets with mountainous and remote areas, where it could be used – among other functions – as a light aircraft workhorse by mining industries operating in inaccessible areas. This is a classic case of Australia playing to our strengths".

In handing over the type certificate David Withers, president of Boeing Australia Limited said "The Nomad has a bright future. "We're delighted with Gippsland's plan to continue providing outstanding support to existing customers while greatly expanding the market for this remarkably versatile, Australian-designed aircraft."

In response Gippsland Aeronautics Chairman Gary Wight said "Gippsland Aeronautics is pleased to be part of the Nomad's future. "We're committed to continuing the high standard of support Boeing has delivered to existing Nomad operators around the world," he said.

Wight added that Gippsland was looking forward to presenting the aircraft to the world market as the Next-Generation Nomad. "The versatile Nomad will complement our rugged GA8 Airvan multi-role utility aircraft. According to independent research carried out by Australian firm Connell Wagner and Asia Pacific Air Services on Gippsland's behalf Global demand for the Nomad could exceed 200 aircraft in the next 10 years." he said.

Mr. Wight then announced that Gippsland holds two letters of intent from two Australian operators for the Nomad. The lead customer is to be Grant Kenny Aviation, which has signed a letter of intent for a multi- aircraft order. Former iron man Grant Kenny, a canoeing bronze medallist in the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, and his wife Lisa Curry-Kenny, also a former Olympic athlete, have built up a multi million dollar fleet of more than fifty aircraft through their Sunshine Coast based Curry-Kenny Aviation Group. The group, Australia's biggest private aviation tour operator, has steadily grown in size to seven aeroplane and helicopter companies which operate aircraft ranging from small training helicopters to corporate jets.

The other operator is Airfreight Solutions, a Bathurst NSW, specialist airfreight operator headed by Tim Hall Matthews.

Gippsland Aeronautics is a leading Australian general aviation aircraft manufacturer with the capability to take an aircraft from concept through development, certification, manufacturing, sales and marketing on a global basis. It exports its GA8 (Airvan) passenger / freight / utility aircraft and GA200 light agricultural aircraft to more than 28 countries around the world. The company employs 120 staff and is based at Latrobe Regional Airport in Morwell, Victoria.

Press release issued by GippsAero Pty Ltd. on June 27, 2008


 Contact details from our directory:
GippsAero Pty Ltd. Airframer
Boeing Australia Ltd.


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