the Gippsaero AirVan that 5intheSky is circling the globe in
The 5intheSky team will undertake the around-the-world expedition in our fully outfitted Gippsaero GA8 AirVan aeroplane, lovingly named “Moose”. Manufactured in Australia, the GA8 AirVan is a single-engine utility aircraft that has been designed for use in remote areas and from austere air strips, performing tasks such as passenger services, parachuting, humanitarian aid and search and rescue operations. Its design emphasizes ruggedness and ease of use. We will fly VFR at all times and adjust our route as required for weather, fuel availability and distance between airports, and will be seeking out the smaller, more remote and less visited areas whenever possible. Our GA8 AirVan (C-GIPU) is a 2013 model with a turbonormalized Lycoming IO540 engine. It carries up to 8 people including pilots and is capable of cruising at 220 km/h (125 knots) for up to 5 hours and reaching an altitude of up to 20,000 feet. We like to joke that it does everything well, except go fast.
The Cargo Pod
The five of us and all our gear will be flying around the world in our GA8 AirVan, and with all of us together, we take up quite a bit of space. The GA8AirVan is big, but not that big, so that's why we have attached the cargo pod to the bottom of the plane.
The cargo pod is an optional addition to the plane. It can carry up to 440lbs and items up to 8 feet long (as long as it fits with the weight and balance). The cargo pod mounts to the belly of the plane and has 3 access doors, 2 on the same side and one at the back. The 2 side doors are great for quickly pulling a bag or two out and the back hatch is mainly for loading. The bottom on the plane is relatively flat, so it doesn't impeach on any cargo-pod storage.
The cargo pod is made of an advanced composite material and can be installed or removed in the field.
The cargo pod will store items and gear that we do not use daily or need in the cockpit. There will still be gear in the cockpit, but the cargo pod will help keep our area decluttered. Keeping our area clean and clear will actually make our expedition more safe.
In the event of an emergency, exiting the aircraft is a quick and simple manner is crucial. If there was gear blocking the exit or prohibiting movement it could be very dangerous.
If you look at the video above, the cargo pod makes the plane look more clunky and awkward. Believe it or not, the cargo pod has relatively no effect on airspeed and makes the plane slightly more aerodynamic! Theoretically it could make the planes average cruising speed increase by 1 knot.
Overall, the cargo pod is a great addition to the plane. It will keep our gear out of the way and safe while we are flying, providing we remember to close the hatches : )
In any aircraft weight is a key factor. It determines if you are within the certified areas for flight, speeds used and more. On our expedition we have to manage weight so that we stay within the certified and safe parameters for flight. To bring all the gear we need and want to bring, the 5intheSky crew has set weight limits to different categories of gear. This ensures that we won't go over the maximum useful load.
For our 14 month expedition each crew member is limited to 20 pounds of individual gear. This includes clothes, shoes, toiletries, the bag, and any other personal items. More about all the gear we're carrying is coming soon!