GippsAero, manufacturer of the Airvan 8, is back in Australian hands after company co-founder George Morgan bought the shares of Indian conglomerate Mahindra Aerospace.
Mahindra sunk $100 million into GippsAero in 2010, but what should have been a match made in aviation heaven soured when culture clashes and differences in engineering policies caused cost increases that were passed onto Airvan customers.
After a skydiving accident in Sweden and the loss of the first production Airvan 10 in the USA, Mahindra stopped taking orders and ceased production at the Latrobe Valley plant in 2020. Since then, several potential buyers have been re-buffed by the asking price.
As of 1 December 2023, the company is back in the hands of George Morgan as sole owner, and he has plans to revive production of the Airvan 8 to fulfil a demand that never went away.
Gippsland Aeronautics was founded in 1977 by Peter Furlong, modifying aerial agriculture aircraft at Latrobe Regional Airport. George Morgan joined Furlong in 1984 and together they developed the GA200 Fatman crop sprayer and the GA8 utility aircraft.
Furlong died in late 2017.