It was pleasing to finally see a Mahindra Aerospace/GippsAero Airvan 8 in the static display lineup and receiving plenty of attention at the recently completed China International General Aviation Convention (CIGAC) 2015. The first of type in China, still bearing Australian VH registration, belongs to Mahindra’s China partner Shaanxi Jinggong General Aviation Company. Pucheng Neifu Airport near Xi’an, the venue for CIGAC static and flying displays, is Shaanxi Jinggong’s base and the GA8’s new China home.
I first met Marguerite Moran and other representatives from GippsAero and Jinggong two years ago at CIGAC 2013. At that stage all they had was a scale model of the GA8 on display at the trade show. The rather fastidious Chinese certification requirements meant they had to go back to the engine and propeller manufacturers for help with obtaining fresh VTCs for those from the CAAC since the models used on the GA8 are slightly different to those previously validated for China. All the hard work paid off and the aircraft is now fully certified for China. Next steps include training of Chinese flight instructors and setting up for final assembly of GA8 aircraft for the China market at Jinggong’s own facility. Jinggong has signed up for a total of five GA8 Airvans.