Australian aircraft cleared to fly again

July 27, 2019
Australian plane cleared
Photo: Bidgee/Wikicommons

Restrictions on an Australian-made plane involved in Swedish parachuting accident have been lifted.

Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority said the temporary suspension of GippsAero GA8 aircraft operations was lifted midnight Thursday after five days.

A spokesman said Europe’s EASA and New Zealand authorities had also lifted restrictions.

The aircraft was grounded as a safety precaution after a parachuting accident in July that killed nine people in Sweden.

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EASA said at the time that early reports had indicated that a wing had detached from the aircraft prior to the accident but noted the root cause of the tragedy could not be confirmed.

The suspension was originally for up to 15 days from midnight July 20 and affected all GA8 aircraft operating in Australia and Australian-registered aircraft operating overseas.

It affected 63 aircraft in Australia, as well as a number operating overseas, and triggered protests from operators.

“The precautionary suspension was triggered by initial information from the investigation into the Swedish accident which showed the accident aircraft had broken up in flight,’’ CASA said in a statement.

“CASA has now received further information that 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.

“A CASA airworthiness engineer is currently observing the accident investigation in Sweden and this has proved to be very beneficial.

“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 Australian regulator also plans to conduct a safety assurance review of Australian parachute operations over the coming months.

The GA8 is a single-engine utility aircraft manufactured in Australia by GippsAero, which is based in Victoria’s Latrobe Valley, and flown worldwide.

Australian GA8s are used in a range of operations including charter, aerial work and parachuting.