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CASA grounds plane type after skydive aircraft crash

July 22, 2019 Headline News No Comments Email Email

Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) has grounded for two weeks the operations of all GippsAero GA8 aircraft after a fatal GA8 aircraft accident in Sweden during a skydiving flight.

Swedish authorities have expressed concern that the aircraft may have broken up during the flight, ABC News reported. See: Crash of Australian-made plane kills nine skydivers

The GA8 is manufactured in Australia by GippsAero, which is based in the Latrobe Valley.

CASA has temporarily suspended GA8 operations as a precautionary step pending the outcome of further investigation by Swedish and European authorities.

The temporary suspension will be for up to 15 days from midnight Saturday 20 July to midnight 3 August 2019. It affects all GA8 aircraft operating in Australia and all Australian registered GA8 aircraft operating overseas.

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.

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.

CASA has been working closely with the Swedish and the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). In response to CASA temporarily suspending GA8 operations in Australia, EASA has issued an Emergency Airworthiness Directive to European GA8 aircraft owners and operators to not operate the aeroplane except for ferry flights. A ferry flight is the sort that might involve an aircraft returning to base.

CASA has sent an airworthiness engineer to Sweden to observe the accident investigation and collect relevant safety information.

There are 63 GA8 aircraft registered in Australia out of a world-wide fleet of 228. The GA8 is a single engine high-wing aeroplane with fixed tricycle landing gear.

GippsAero holds a production certificate issued by CASA to manufacture the GA8 and is subject to regular surveillance and safety checks by CASA. The aircraft type was certified in 2000 by CASA for normal operations, which includes skydiving.

New Zealand, where there are 10 operators of the aircraft and 21 of the planes, has grounded the GA8 as well.

The plane is the most widely-used sightseeing aircraft in New Zealand.

Edited by Peter Needham

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