June 18, 2014
The Latrobe Valley’s signature GA8 Airvan has gained an audience with the Royal Australian Air Force’s second-in-command.
Air Vice-Marshal (AVM) Gavin “Leo” Davies, the Deputy Chief of Air Force, was given a first-hand briefing on the Traralgon-built aircraft at Canberra Airport at the request of The Nationals Member for Gippsland and Parliamentary Secretary for Defence, Darren Chester.
The aircraft’s manufacturer GippsAero is seeking new markets for its signature aircraft and is keen to explore opportunities for state and federal government contracts.
The briefing with AVM Davies was an opportunity to showcase the aircraft’s versatility and suitability for a wide range of roles.
Mr Chester congratulated GippsAero for showing initiative by bringing the GA8 Airvan to the nation’s capital.
“The visit was a great opportunity for GippsAero to explore the possibility of attracting government clients,” Mr Chester said.
“The Airvan is a reliable and diverse platform, which has already shown to have a variety of uses around the world including defence-related activities, drug detection, highway patrols and coastal surveillance.”
AVM Davies and Group Captain Alan Lawrence, Acting Director General Aerospace Development (GAD), spoke with GippsAero CEO Keith Douglas about the Defence procurement process and where an aircraft like the Airvan could fit into government projects.
GippsAero employs about 150 staff in the Latrobe Valley and has sold more than 200 Airvans around the world.
Mr Douglas said it was an important opportunity to build awareness with the Federal Government and the relevant departments on the capability of this locally-manufactured aircraft.
“We have been very successful overseas, particularly in the US with state departments and defence force. We feel it is appropriate we try to raise the profile within our own country,” Mr Douglas said.
“With its proven performance in the areas of reconnaissance, surveillance, firefighting and emergency evacuation, we believe the Airvan is the right choice for State and Federal operations.”
CAPTION: Air Vice-Marshal (AVM) Gavin “Leo” Davies, the Deputy Chief of Air Force, Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester, Latrobe City Mayor Sharon Gibson and GippsAero CEO Keith Douglas on the tarmac with the Airvan GA8 at Canberra Airport.