In The Works: Gippsland Aeronautics Next-Generation Nomad

 - September 23, 2008, 10:39 AM

The dwindling ranks of Australian-designed and -built Nomad twin turboprops may yet grow again as Gippsland Aeronautics has purchased the Nomad program and plans to relaunch the airplane as the Next-Generation Nomad. Gippsland currently manufactures the piston GA-8 Airvan at its factory at Latrobe Regional Airport in Morwell, Victoria.

Boeing Australia handed over the Nomad type certificate to Gippsland on June 18. Originally built by Government Aircraft Factories then Aerospace Technologies of Australia through 1984, the Rolls-Royce (Allison) 250-powered Nomad has seen utility service all over the world, and 54 of the 170 built remain in operation. Gippsland’s purchase of the Nomad type certificate includes all intellectual property associated with the airplane, as well as product and spares support for the remaining fleet.

Gippsland plans to restart the Nomad production line and has already lined up letters of intent with tour operator Grant Kenny Aviation and Airfreight Solutions. Renaming the product the Next-Generation Nomad saves the company time and effort trying to certify a turbine version of the GA-8 Airvan. Research conducted for Gippsland suggests a market for more than 200 Nomads during the coming decade, according to chairman Gary Wight. The original Nomad is powered by two 400-shp Rolls-Royce 250s, so the Next-Generation version might be an ideal candidate for Rolls’s new RR500 turboprop. The Nomad carries 12 to 13 passengers, cruises at 168 knots maximum speed and offers range of nearly 600 nm.