Regulators in Australia, the European Union and elsewhere have lifted a temporary grounding of the Australian-made GippsAero GA8 Airvan.
Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) said on Thursday evening the decision to end the five-day grounding was made after new information from the investigation into a crash involving the aircraft in Sweden on July 14 which killed all nine people on board.
“There is no evidence to indicate a potential unsafe condition associated with the aircraft and as such the GA8 aircraft type can be safely allowed to return to normal operations,” CASA said in a statement.
“CASA 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.”
The crash occurred near Storsandskar Island in northern Sweden. The flight was operated to drop parachutists. There were no survivors, with eight passengers and the pilot killed in the incident.
CASA, which announced the grounding of the G8 Airvan on July 20, said it had an airworthiness engineer observing the accident investigation in Sweden.
Similarly, the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has cancelled a previous airworthiness directive (AD) issued on July 19 (European time) grounding the aircraft.
“Since that AD was issued, CASA Australia informed EASA that the results of the physical inspection of the accident aeroplane indicate that it appears to have been exposed to aerodynamic loads beyond those for which the type design is certificated,” EASA said.
“No evidence was found to indicate that an unsafe condition exists or could develop that would warrant AD action under Regulation (EU) 748/2012, Part 21.A.3B.”
The aircraft was grounded following initial indications that the aircraft may have suffered structural failure. The investigation is ongoing.
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The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) of New Zealand has also lifted the grounding of the aircraft.
“The flying public, operators and pilots of the affected aircraft need to be satisfied that these aircraft are now safe to fly,” CAA director of Civil Aviation Graeme Harris said in a statement on Friday.
“They can now be assured that the initial concerns expressed following the accident in Sweden have been addressed.
“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.”
The CAA said the GA8 Airvan was primarily used for “tourist flightseeing operations” in New Zealand, with minimal commuter usage.
Figures from CASA indicated there were 228 GA8 Airvans around the world, including 63 Australian-registered aircraft.
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.
VIDEO: A news report from the site of the GippsAero GA8 Airvan crash in Sweden from the BBC World Service YouTube channel.
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