Nomad development by the Australian Government Aircraft Factory (GAF) began in 1965 with an eye to maintaining production and reducing reliance on military orders at the completion of the Mirage programme. The objective was to produce a light twin turbo-prop STOL aircraft. The two prototype N2 aircraft were first flown on July 23 (VH-SUP) and December 5 (VH-SUR) 1971.
The initial production aircraft, the N22 was a 12 passenger version still aimed at military operators and known as the Missionmaster. The N22B appeared in 1974 as a 13 passenger version for the civil market. The N22C is a freight model similar to the N22B but with a higher MAUW. The N22F features floats made by Wiplane in the USA, and the aircraft has also been fitted with Skis manufactured by Hughes. Other versions include N22SB and SL Searchmaster military variants intended for maritime and land based reconnaisance.
The N24A was released in 1976. This incorporated a 1.14m (3'9) fuselage stretch allowing a 17 passenger capacity, and increasing the MAUW by 410kg (900lb). A total of170 aircraft were built in the period up to 1984. Of these 95 were military variants and 75 civil. Military operators have included Australia, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Philipinnes, and Thailand who have used the aircraft in a range of roles including CasEvac, FAC, maritime reconnaisance, supply and transport. The aircraft in civil operation has been used for commuter work, utility transport, survey tasks, tourist charters , SAR and air ambulance work. The latter is probably the best known as the aircraft was operated by the Northern Territory Flying Doctor service. In 1986 GAF was incorporated into Aerospace Technologies of Australia (ASTA).
In New Zealand the Nomad has primarily been used in a tourist/charter role. Typical operation is one pilot with 15 passengers. Currently (as of July 1999) 9 Nomad's operate in New Zealand. These are ZK-FVU an N22C (c/n N22C-55), and ZK-FVX (c/n N24A-46), ZK-NAD (c/n N24-30), ZK-NMC (c/n N24A-34), ZK-NMD (c/n N24A-60), ZK-NME (c/n N24A-122), ZK-NMG (c/n N24A-73), ZK-NMH (c/n N24A-74FA), and ZK-OUT (c/n N24-32) which are all N24A. The largest operator is Air Safaris (NZ) Ltd who have operated the type since 1980. Although the have operated N22 models, their current fleet of five are all N24A aircraft (illustrated below) used on tourist flights in the Southern Alps.
Last Update:- 12 June, 1999
Data is for N22B
© 1999 Phillip Treweek, all rights reserved