As we've previously reported, here at Aero-News we're big fans
of the Gippsland GA-8 Airvan.
It's as big and bold as its homeland of Australia, the veritable
Crocodile Dundee of piston airplanes. It's simple, honest flying
(they tell us - we haven't gotten the controls yet) and beats a
Cessna 206 by just about every measure, including price.
While Gippsland Aero did
have a generic GA-8 in their booth, the one that made the best
impression was this GA-8 in Civil Air Patrol livery. (It also
helped offset the creepy Ashcroftjugend impression that the
CAP gives by marching a bunch of kids around in uniforms. Of
course, AirVenture depends on the volunteer efforts of those
uniformed kids, so I probably should be grateful rather than
The GA-8 is ideally suited to transport missions in remote
places. (We sure could have used them in Afghanistan, where they'd
have been far more dependable than helicopters, at much less
expense to the taxpayers). The designers considered maintainability
in every stage of manufacture, and there is no part of the GA-8
airframe that can't be made by any half-decent A&P (or village
smith, if it came to that) out of sheet metal or steel tubing.