MEDIA STATEMENT - 26 July 2019

Gippsland GA8 Airvan safe to fly

The Director of Civil Aviation has lifted a temporary suspension of all 21 Gippsland GA8 aircraft operations in New Zealand.

Director of Civil Aviation Graeme Harris said the temporary suspension of the airworthiness certificates for GA8 aircraft was put in place on Saturday 20 July as a safety precaution following a recent fatal parachuting accident in Sweden.

This action was also taken by the airworthiness authorities in Europe and Australia.

“Based on the limited information available immediately after the accident, the 21 GA8 aircraft operating in New Zealand were grounded, as well as a number operating overseas. There were 63 aircraft grounded in Australia for the same reasons,” Mr Harris said.

The suspension was in effect for six days.

“The precautionary suspension was triggered by initial information from the investigation into the Swedish accident which showed the aircraft had broken up in flight.

"We do not take these steps lightly. The flying public, operators and pilots of the affected aircraft need to be satisfied that these aircraft are now safe to fly. They can now be assured that the initial concerns expressed following the accident in Sweden have been addressed," Mr Harris said.

The Director said he had received further information that there was no evidence to indicate a potential unsafe condition. As a consequence the GA8 aircraft type would now be safely allowed to return to normal operations.

“Our Australian counterpart, the Civil Aviation Safety Authority has an airworthiness engineer in Sweden, observing the accident investigation and feedback from this work has been beneficial.

"We will continue to monitor the investigation into the GA8 accident and will take appropriate action should any related safety issues become apparent in the future,” he said.

CAA media contact:
027 763 0000
media@caa.govt.nz

Background

  • The accident happened on 14 July 2019 near Umea in northern Sweden. None of the nine people on board the aircraft survived the accident.
  • The GA8 aircraft is manufactured in Australia by Gipps Aero, which is based in the Latrobe Valley. The GA8 is a single engine high wing aeroplane with fixed tricycle landing gear. In New Zealand he GA8 is primarily used in tourist flightseeing operations (with a minimal commuter usage).