Alex Dittrich for JetTip.net

N4510 after arriving at Grand Forks (GFK) in April, 2021.

Noteworthy Aircraft: Grob G-520

The Grob G-520 is a single engine turboprop aircraft developed in Germany in the late 80s for high-altitude surveillance. Enthusiasts will immediately notice its long, slender (high aspect ratio) wings, the comically large exhaust port, and the bulgy appearance of the fuselage. Despite an MTOW (maximum takeoff weight) comparable to a Phenom 100 (around 10,000 lbs), the G-520 has a wingspan similar to a 737-800 (around 110 feet).

JetTip subscribers in Grand Forks, ND, were recently notified of the arrival of the Perlan Project's tow plane, a Grob G-520, N4510.

The Perlan Project

Alex Dittrich for JetTip.net

This glider was towed by N4510 out of Grand Forks (GFK), on April 5, 2021. Note the roof mounted engine.

The Perlan Project's eventual goal is to fly a glider to an altitude of 100,000 feet for atmospheric study.

Visiting Grand Forks, ND

On Saturday, March 26, 2021, N4510 flew from the aircraft's base in Denison, TX (GYI) to Grand Forks, ND (GFK). On the following Monday and Tuesday, the aircraft made two additional flights, towing a glider into northwestern Minnesota and loitering in the area around Thief River Falls.

Alex Dittrich was on hand at Grand Forks when the aircraft arrived and as it prepared to depart on its first flight, and has provided these photos, which provide an unusual look at very unusual aircraft.

Alex Dittrich for JetTip.net

Preparing to depart Grand Forks (GFK) on April 5, 2021.

Alex Dittrich for JetTip.net

Detail of the Av Experts, LLC decal.

Alex Dittrich for JetTip.net

Cockpit detail of N4510.

Alex Dittrich for JetTip.net

Cockpit detail of N4510.

Alex Dittrich for JetTip.net

Detail of the Perlan Project decal.

Alex Dittrich for JetTip.net

LOX (liquid oxygen) equipment required for high altitude flying.

The Grob G-520 fleet

David C. Eyre / Aeropedia, and Manfred Bischoff's (English translation) both have wonderful overviews on the history of the program as well as specifics on the six aircraft produced; as of April, 2021, these are the current registrations and whereabouts each aircraft:

  • c/n 10001, D-FGEI, status unknown
  • c/n 10002, N4510, active, owned by AV Experts, LLC, based at Denison, TX (GYI), glider tow for Perlan Project
  • c/n 10003, N520EG, active as recently as 2016, believed owned by AV Experts, LLC, based at Denision, TX (GYI)
  • c/n 10004, N520DM, flown as recently as 2017, has active certificate, obfuscated ownership via Wilmington Trust, DE
  • c/n 10005, D-FAHH, flown as recently as 2019, based at Grob HQ, Mindelheim-Matties (EDMN)
  • c/n 10200, D-FHHH, flown as recently as December 2020, based at Grob HQ, Mindelheim-Matties (EDMN)

Additional info:

Nick Benson

Nick lives in Burnsville, MN with his wife and three children. He grooves on railroad and aviation photography, geography, weather, and LEGO. A freelance web developer, he started JetTip's smart flight alert service in 2017. He can frequently be found atop a step ladder at MSP's Aircraft Viewing Area.