Mahindra Announces Float-Equipped Airvan

Mahindra Aerospace, the maker of the Australian-designed Airvan, announced at AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, that it is adding floats to its eight-seat utility airplane, which has been rebranded the Airvan 8. Wipairee Inc. is engineering the floats and has installed a set designed for the Cessna 206 Stationair for initial evaluations.

The float-equipped Airvan took its first flight about a week and a half ago and Ryan Nordell, an engineer from Wipaire who is working on the new float design, said the performance has been good, with stable flight qualities and good stall characteristics.

However, the Airvan will likely require its own design, Nordell said. The configuration has not yet been determined, but the floats will likely be larger than the 206 floats, which have a certified weight limit of 3,800 pounds. The max gross weight for the Airvan is 4,200 pounds.

Arvind Mehra, the executive director and global CEO for Mahindra Aerospace, said the floats are being added in response to customer demand, particularly in Alaska. The company also plans to offer the floats as an aftermarket STC option for Airvan owners. Pricing has not yet been determined. Additionally, Mahindra is looking at the possibility of adding skis to the Airvan, Mehra said.

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Pia Bergqvist joined FLYING in December 2010. A passionate aviator, Pia started flying in 1999 and quickly obtained her single- and multi-engine commercial, instrument and instructor ratings. After a decade of working in general aviation, Pia has accumulated almost 3,000 hours of flight time in nearly 40 different types of aircraft.

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