Regulators in Australia and the European Union have temporarily grounded the Australian-made GippsAero GA8 Airvan in response to a fatal crash involving the aircraft in Sweden.
The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) announced the “prohibition of all flights” in an emergency airworthiness directive (EAD) issued on July 19 (European time).
“On 14 July 2019, a fatal accident occurred with a GA8 ‘Airvan’ aeroplane, during a flight where the purpose was to drop parachutists,” the EAD said.
“Indications are that the aeroplane, at 4,000 meters altitude, suffered structural failure. Early reports are that a wing may have detached from the aeroplane prior to the accident, but, at this time, the root cause of the accident cannot be confirmed.”
The crash, which occurred near Storsandskar Island in northern Sweden, killed all nine people on board.
The GA8 Airvan is a single-engine aircraft manufactured in Victoria’s Latrobe Valley. The aircraft was certified in 2000. The manufacturer GippsAero is majority-owned by India-headquartered Mahindra Group.
Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) said in a statement on July 20 it was temporarily suspending GA8 operations for 15 days “as a precautionary step pending the outcome of further investigation by Swedish and European authorities”.
“CASA has written to all Australian operators of GA8 aircraft advising them of the temporary suspension and reminding them of their obligation to comply with all applicable GA8 Airworthiness Directives issued by CASA,” the CASA statement said.
“CASA has also written to all National Aviation Authorities who have GA8 aircraft operating in their jurisdiction advising them that CASA has imposed a 15-day temporary operating suspension on these aircraft.”
Further, CASA said it had sent an airworthiness engineer to Sweden to observe the accident investigation and collect relevant safety information.
Figures from CASA indicated there were 228 GA8 Airvans around the world, including 63 Australian-registered aircraft.
The EASA EAD said further action may follow. The EAD can be read in full on the EASA website.
Meanwhile, CASA’s statement can be found on its website.