5 Unforgettable Flying Trips you can take in Australia & NZ

Here’s our Top Five Aussie & NZ Light Aircraft Flying Journey’s to take in this vast and beautiful country of ours. We’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas as well, please share your light sport aircraft story’s with us!


Let’s kick things off with a historical traverse from Charleville to Cloncurry in Queensland, which is the first scheduled Qantas mail and passenger flight, that occurred in 1922.  You’ll be flying alongside the stunning Diamantina National Park, over the Diamantina River and up via some of Australia’s largest and oldest cattle stations.

Up here, checking the back paddock in your trusty ute can take days, or be a much shorter time frame to factor  with your Australian LightWing work horse aircraft leading the way.

If you’re heading up this way, be sure to meet some Aussie locals in Longreach and Winton on your travels. You’ll find a bunch of LightWing owners up this way, so please say ‘Hi!’ from the Team here at LightWing. Australian LightWing CEO, Howie, recently delivered a plane up this way, check out his trip here.

Oz Runways

(Flight Plan: OzRunways)


It’s hard to say where this flight might take you, because we highly recommend you take on the “Come and Get It Trophy Challenge. This event was created in 1990 and is still going strong, where an Ra-Aus registered aircraft makes a minimum of five hours flight, and the new trophy location needs to be over 100 nautical miles from the seekers collection point.

There’s a couple ways to track the Trophy, like The Come and Get It (CAGIT Hunters) Facebook page and we wish you great adventures and joy in seeking it!

Come and Get It

The CAGI Trophy!


We’re going to have to add the stunning island of Tasmania to our top Five List. The city of Launceston and it’s surrounding areas offer so very many highlights including the beautiful Tamar Estuary and the northern coastline, the nearby islands,  and small towns dotted around this area provide a stunning backdrop to extensive entertainment opportunities .

Local airports nearby include Devonport Airport, George Town Airport, Burnie Airport. Be sure to pop in to Freedom Flight’s website (based  in George Town & Devonport) to gather some local knowledge!

We really enjoyed this recap of ‘The best way to see Tassie‘ on the ‘Flying in Tas’ Website.

Follow Australian LightWing’s board Tasmania on Pinterest.//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js


Ok, Ok, this was going to just be a list of places just in Australia, but we have to break our own rules and suggest The Bay of Plenty in New Zealand. The  New Zealand landscape is utterly incredible!  The lush Raukumara mountain range, which rises to 1754 m (5755 ft) at Mt. Hikurangi, sets the scene and then the sprawling lush New Zealand landscape will leave you speechless at every turn.

Check out these images courtesy of Rob N, from his LightWing in The Bay Of Plenty’s Opotiki.

Opotiki1 Opotiki




Well, what list around Australia isn’t complete without a stop at Australia’s most Easterly point – Byron Bay? Which, incidentally, (cough, cough *shameless self promotion*) sits next to the home of The Australian LightWing range of aircraft in Ballina.

Ballina to Byron

(Pictured: From Ballina’s North Wall, looking North up to Australia’s most Easterly point, Byron Bay, and beyond.)

Byron is what it is, and it ain’t what it was; it’s no longer the quiet sea side surfing village it was in the 70’s, but it still whispers it’s legacy of possessing strong community values, it’s attitude towards environmental and eco-friendly sustainable earth friendly living, and it’s natural beauty offers a wide variety of sights and sounds to check out. It perches on the edge of the stunning Northern Rivers Hinterland, the Mt Warning National Park; is framed by stunning beaches, and is flanked by many local airstrips and hosts a thriving aviation community.

The Ballina-Byron Airport is growing at a rapid rate as visitors flock to these golden beaches, and we welcome you to come in and say hello and look at our wide range of products and services, our feature packed aircraft, and meet the team.


Thanks for reading, but we know it’s an impossible list, the opportunities are simply endless.

So, what are your top five??!!



Music To Fly By: Playlist #1

You’re going to need some music to get you through the week:

Music To Fly By: Playlist #1

All wrapped up in a YouTube Play List:

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


“Shine a Light (for the NSW North West)”

Luke Vassella


“Come on Over”

Elana Stone


“The Good Life”

Thirsty Merc


“Drop The Game”

Flume & Chet Faker


“Why Georgia”

John Mayer





“Way of The Eagle”

Rattlesnake ft. Dan Sultan


“Walking on Me”

Jordan Millar


Long Time Gone”

Crosby Stills and Nash


“Peach Tree”

We Two Thieves



Bobby Alu


“Honey, Do You Know The Way Back Home”

Jack Carty

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

You’re Welcome.


Featured Image: Singer Ray Charles wearing earphones while in his private plane 1966. Photo: Bill Ray. {Source}

Aviator Blogs

Here’s a couple of our favourite Aviator Blogs.

We’d love to know your favourite’s and why!


Crikey – A reporter since November 30, 1960, Ben Sandilands looks at what really matters up in the sky: public administration of air transport and its safety, the accountability of the carriers, and space for everyone’s knees.

Kristen Alexander – Australian Aviation History. Some amazing stories and old photographs. Definitely one to check out.

Midlife Pilot – An Aussie bloke’s flying experiences. Down to earth musing’s on aviation, flying, Australia and learning to fly.

CQ’s Plane Spotter’s – Aviation news and aircraft movements in Central Queensland, Australia. Some pretty cool planes visit Central Queensland. Great photo’s.

Learn to Fly – Tips and advice about flight training.

Virgin’s Blog – Question’s to Virgin Australia’s airline pilots. We’ve trained a couple of those smart cookie’s ourselves!

Aussie Star Flight Simulation – Creating an active, learning community of flying enthusiasts who strive to achieve an as real as it gets experience.


From the Coast to the Outback in the Australian LightWing GR-LSA

Delivering the second GR-LSA during the first week in July, 2014, was an extremely enjoyable exercise for pilot Howie Hughes, as the Hughes Engineering Team haven’t undertaken a delivery of this length for some time. Most purchasers simply pick up their aircraft from the factory in Ballina, in Northern New South Wales, and depart from there. Read on as Howie elaborates on the finer details of the journey in the new Australian LightWing GR-LSA.

Australian LightWing GR LSA

I departed from the Ballina-Byron Gateway Airport, Australia’s most Easterly airport, in the GR-LSA aircraft at around 11am, with the flight plan prepared on the OzRunways application on my iPad for the first time. Part of the exercise of this flight was to assess the effectiveness of OzRunways, which in turn, proved its worth within ten minutes of the wheels leaving the ground at Ballina.

Taking off on runway 24 and immediately turning right and heading towards the mountain range with the first stop on the flight plan being Dalby. However after a very short time into the flight I rapidly realised it was cold, the day was getting cooler, the wind was getting bumpier and the mountains were looking extremely unfriendly. So with not too much thought I swung the aircraft north and headed up the coast to Caloundra, this being an extremely easy navigational exercise, simply keeping the ocean on the right and avoiding Coolangatta airspace. Greasing past said airspace, then heading over towards the coast up past Bribie Island.

I was in Caloundra with a roaring tailwind of around 20 knots by 2 o’clock in the afternoon. The plan being to then head on to Kingaroy, however, the day had started very early with a few niggly items to be attended to, so I was quite happy to bed the aircraft down in a large, safe, secure hanger and head off to the nearest comfy hotel for a snooze, beautiful Italian meal and off to bed. I found all this on the beach front in Caloundra, ably assisted by a local cabbie.

An early start in the morning found me heading off towards Kingaroy where I’d planned to make a stop, but I headed straight to Roma, once again with a tailwind of around 20 knots so my ground speed was varied between 90 and 100 knots in the GR-LSA. It was during this leg that I found myself very happy to be flying this beautiful aeroplane, which flew like a dream: smooth, directionally stable and an absolute pleasure in the sky.

Flying out over Chinchilla I got a bird’s eye view of what coal seam gas is all about as this place really is a chemical nightmare with gas wells, pipes, dams, and roads crisscrossing what was obviously beautiful farm land. I gained a new appreciation of what the local Bentley blockade and the demonstration’s against coal seam gas were all about. I wasn’t an active participant in the local coal seam gas demonstrations, but, boy, this place sure was a mess of pipes and no longer resembled farmland in any way, shape or form.


On to Roma, ably assisted but the tailwind. The flight that I was making was being followed by a large high pressure system, and as I moved across and through the high pressure system I was in fact following its edge, thus the winds rotating in an anti-clockwise direction, simply stayed behind me.

Lunch at Roma, ‘When in Roma, do as the Romans do’, as they say at the Roma aero club, then, after filling up straight up to the next stop, being Emerald. I’ve been to Emerald before and I was met by my good mate, John Gardon, who runs a small flying school at the Emerald airfield, and again I was able to bed the GR-LSA down in a cosy, safe hangar for the evening and in to yet another comfy motel with a soft bed and a beautiful meal.

The next morning, I was up reasonably early and off due west to Longreach for lunch and a quick look through the Longreach Aviation and Qantas Museum. (I think it’s worth pointing out that I was rather disappointed in looking through the jumbo jet parked on the Longreach airfield. It seemed poorly maintained, it was tatty inside and though they had a number of guests who were all paying sixty dollars a head, they didn’t seem to want to turn the lights on inside the jet! The whole experience being, in my option, certainly not worth recommending, unless they do something about the tour).

After lunch, I was off to Winton. The second last leg of the journey where the airport caretaker, Bill, and his lovely wife, who then also offered me a bed for the night, met me. I politely refused, not wanting to bother them, but after Bill and I searched high and low for a motel, we couldn’t find any, so Bill very kindly put me up for the evening in an extremely warm and comfortable bed, fed me both dinner and breakfast and sent me on my way in the morning with a full tummy and a full aeroplane.

Heading now southwest for the last leg, I was now in the real outback, marvelling now at the beautiful colours of the vegetation and the rocks below. I flew out over Cork Station, and then on to Old Cork Station, out over the Diamantina and felt I was taking a step back into the history books with John Williamson’s voice wafting, Redgum’s song in the back of my brain “…and the rain never falls on the dusty Diamantina, and I won’t be back till the droving’s done…”


Landing at my destination was the end of an extremely enjoyable three-day trip. I was very happy with the performance of the GR-LSA as well as Oz Runways. I found Oz Runways a joy to use, particularly in the outback where it’s possible to enlarge the maps to the highest possible magnifications to pick out the smallest tracks in the outback, which assisted with the extra visual cues needed to ensure you know exactly where you’re going.

All in all, a great fun trip.

Howie Hughes.


A brief overview of the Specifications for the Australian LightWing GR-LSA:

Range: 5 hours/500nm @ 100 knots;

Cruise Speed: 75-85 knots;

Wingspan: 9.1 metres;

MTOW: 600kgs;

Features: VIP Propeller, Complete window doors for maximum visibility, spacious interior, fully welded pilot protection frame, proudly Australian designed and manufactured.

Find out more about the GR-LSA at www.lightwing.com.au

Locate Australian LightWing on Instagram and read some more stories from Howie at australianlightwing.wordpress.com

Australian LightWing Giveaway!

We thought you might be interested – we’re running a Facebook Giveaway Comp – for your chance to wing an Australian LightWing Mug and Cap simply head over and share our Australian LightWing Facebook page, then just comment on the Giveaway Status (on June 24th) where you’re from and the last Airshow you went to!

Can’t get any easier than that!

Thanks for your shares and Good Luck!


25 Years of Pacific Flyer

photo 3
It’s with much reminiscing over the past twenty five years we bid farewell and many thanks to The Pacific Flyer Magazine team.  We first ran in to them twenty-five years ago in Evans Head, NSW, and their support for manufacturers, and particularly Australian manufacturers, has always been very good.

Australian LightWing has been an advertiser and keen fan of this outstanding pillar of Australian aviation news and community. The shiny covered mag  would arrive clean and smiling and be ushered upstairs to the LightWing morning tea room for a month of reading, discussion and interest. It’s the end of an era, as we all busy our heads in our computers these days, but hopefully not for too long on a blue sky day.

We here at Australian LightWing are a hands on company. We love nothing more than simply building with our hands a tactile product, you can touch, construct and fly, as I’m sure the makers of a fine magazine would also enjoy. It is with our heads held high that we continue to strive to share flying, engineering and design with the next generations, in a continually improving and technologically advancing manner.  The development of our new aircraft, the GR-912-LSA, is a perfect example of our many strong years in the Australian aviation industry, it combines features from our fantastic range of light aircraft in one stunning new Light Sport Aircraft. 

Through our high school Fly Project, by approaching aero clubs around Australia, by taking flights and trips to nearby hubs of aviation enthusiasm, our under-grad program with DELFT University, among others, and more, we aim to continue contributing to this growing industry in which we have played a big part in for the past thirty years strong.

Hard days are indeed ahead, with new regulations and laws to keep our sport safe continually regulating our aircraft, business and affairs; but our mission has never wavered; the safest Australian Light Sport Aircraft is available right here, in Australia, with complete support, service, back up and repair, from a family business, with a name you can trust. Why go anywhere else?

Thank you for always sharing this message, Pacific Flyer.

Your team have been a delight to work with and we congratulate you for always putting out a quality magazine over the past twenty-five years.

We wish you many thanks and the best of luck for the future.

photo 4

photo 2

photo 1

From Ballina to Longreach in the new Australian LightWing

As the new GR-912-LSA aircraft approaches completion in the Hughes Factory here in Ballina, we are sorting about getting registration finalised and then planning our trip North West through this beautiful country of ours for delivery.

This means we may be passing through a town near you and we would love to show our stunning new aircraft off!

Our path will begin from Ballina Airport of course, and then include, but is not limited to, Toowoomba, Roma, Augathella, Blackall, Barcaldine, Longreach and Winton, before finally landing at the GR-912-LSA’s new home a a private farm in Brighton Downs (A 1600km trip across just about every kind of terrain Australia has to offer!).

So if you’re out there in the vicinity of this flight path and you’re interested in taking a look and having a catch up with Howie, please contact us as well as your local aero club to be in the loop for the flight across. We’d very much love to say hi, or have a sausage sizzle or a chat with some Aussie locals on our trip. In fact, nothing would give us greater pleasure indeed.

Contact us at fly@lightwing.com.au and be sure to let us know of any great sights or things of note if you know of any.

Thanks! Looking forward to seeing you!





The Australian LightWing CASA Audit May 2014

In the second week in May 2014, CASA visited the premises of Australian LightWing, represented by Mick Poole and Klaus Schwerdtfeger, the purpose being to assess our LSA manufacturing procedures and documentation.

There are five LSA manufactures in Australia. Namely, Australian LightWing, Jabiru, Brumby Aircraft, Airborne Edge and the Moyes factory in Sydney.

The audit procedure began some time ago, when the FAA decided to carry out a similar exercise looking at American LSA manufactures, of which there are approximately seventy to the best of my knowledge. The FAA found that the US manufactures had many areas of non-compliance.  In Australia, the manufacturers have come from manufacturing under CAO 101.55 or similar so the Australian level of compliance, as far as I’m aware, was a little better than the FAA found in America.

Mick and Klaus spent three days looking at our flight, service, Quality assurance and procedure manuals, and also manufacturing documentation including jigs, tooling etc. They are patient men and I believe they didn’t nod off once though we noticed they consumed quite a lot of coffee!

The audit in general went well, a few details were found and these will be attended to resulting in an overall enhancement of our level of compliance, which is of course an excellent thing.

Could we say that we are now an approved LSA manufacturer?  Well I don’t think this was the point of the exercise, as approved manufacturers are not really a part of the LSA regulatory process.  An example of a non-compliance came from the latest standard (the ASTM standards) on instrument marking where, if the airspeed limitations (red line for VNE etc.) are located on the outside of the clear cover then both the cover or glass and the instrument bezel must be indexed in case the glass rotates. Well it’s possible.



What’s happening at Australian LightWing this week?!

April 2014

The new aircraft under construction, the GR-912-LSA, at the Australian LightWing factory in Ballina is coming along very nicely, with completion due in the next few short weeks (April 2014). We’re very excited to see this aircraft taking shape, and even more excited to deliver her out to her new home near Longreach, QLD, Australia.  Check out the Longreach airport website here.  You can follow the GR-912-LSA’s progress with up close and personal shots on our Instagram channel at http://instagram.com/australianlightwing.


We’re also very happy to have an interview with our PR Manager, Shelly Hughes, featured in this month’s Pacific Flyer Magazine. The interview features news about the new aircraft, a look back at our strong history in the Australian aviation industry, and also looking forward to the future of our company, with the development of the new aircraft, the Flight Simulator and upcoming options for our range of fully built and kit aircraft. Be sure to order your copy or start your subscription soon so as not to miss out on what’s happening around the Australian skies.

We’re also excited to be a part of the new Ballina Industrial Estate Facebook page, a new community based group of companies wishing to share their news, great deals and community based events in the local area. Please jump on board with this new activity and stay in touch with whats happening around Ballina, the Industrial Estate and the Northern Rivers of New South Wales, Australia.

Ballina Industrial Estate



We are also really excited to launch the  Australian LightWing  Aircraft Database. A website designed to help the Australian LightWing community stay in touch, share photos and stories, as well as provides a Market Place for owners to buy and sell and a database of interesting aircraft and aviation related links.  We would be very interested to share your stories or promote your flying school or business. Please contact us with your details and we will happily promote via all avenues available to us. We intend to feature happy aircraft owners as often as possible, so please call or email now!

Ok, it’s 12.01pm, made it through and no one’s pulled any April Fools Day pranks :) Safe!

Last but not least, you’ll be excited to hear that Howie has another gig at Club Lennox on Easter Sunday! Be sure to get down there, enjoy the music and have a great meal!

Thanks for reading and stay tuned for further updates on the new aircraft, the Flight Simulator and news from our beautiful shire.



Press Release GR-912-LSA

The NEW Australian LightWing GR-912-LSA

Heading into our 29th year of designing and manufacturing the Australian LightWing aircraft, we cannot help but reminisce as we embark on the exciting new aircraft design currently under construction at the Hughes Engineering Factory in Ballina. The inspiration comes from a very satisfied and keen repeat customer who has owned and used an Australian LightWing on his expansive property in the outback, where paddocks are measured in the tens of thousands of acres. After two decades of good and reliable use, this customer wishes to upgrade his outstanding (and of course, still flying) industry workhorse, the GR 912. This aircraft signifies where our aviation roots took hold in the days of flying a simple two stroke powered aircraft along the beaches of the Northern Rivers.

Looking forward, the brand new High Wing/Tail Dragger GR-912-LSA is designed to integrate the features of the tried and true high wing GR LightWing aircraft, with the new low wing Light Sport Aircraft (LSA) SP Range design and innovations. With superior design and high anticipation, the new High Wing/Tail Dragger GR-912-LSA will take to the air this month (March 2014).

The new GR-912-LSA aircraft is focused around our initial concept of design of super strong and super light “rag and tube” fabric covering, keeping the pilot protection frame at its strongest and lightest. This provides maximum benefits for safety, maneuverability, upkeep, style and the all important paint job. We never forget that aesthetics have their place in the Australian sky.

This traditional method of aircraft design is expertly combined with our technological innovations: The Glass Cockpit; the VIP In-flight adjustable prop; the ALW Heli-vue windows and dash; bigger flaps; optional amphibian floats; and big clear bubble doors which can be easily removed for great observation around the paddocks or flying school.


Looking back over our initial design concept, we can’t help but enjoy our rich history within the Australian aviation community. Our signature tail wing has graced many a Narromine airshow, Great Eastern Fly-In and Mangalore event as well as many, many more. Happy ALW customers may find our Australian LightWing Aircraft Database an interesting place to explore and contribute to. Visit it at http://australianlightwingdatabase.wordpress.com/

We plan on focusing on the tail dragger undercarriage option as the mainstay of the GR-912-LSA high wing aircraft range. Under the hood is the Rotax 912-ULS and optional turbo 914, with options for larger power plants on the not too distant horizon as we consistently strive to compete with the import market on price and power; but in style, we’ve got them beat.

Our long line of valued and happy customers, who we believe have come to be some of our very good friends, remind us that our company and aircraft have been built from the ground up. We are appreciated not only for offering the best customer service, efficient ordering and delivery of supplies and the ever-available complete nose-to-tail aircraft expert advice, but on designing and manufacturing the safest light sport aircraft in Australia. We intend to stick to our roots.

We at Hughes Engineering are proud to consistently design and evolve our stunning aircraft in response to the ever-increasing need to be bigger, better, faster and greener, as well as stepping our company into the digital age of interactivity.

One of the ways our company steps towards a greener future is through our ever evolving website. Here you are able to download your airworthiness requirements as well as service, flight, parts and kit manuals. We’re also proud to share our current design and manufacture activities with you via Instagram, Pinterest, Youtube, Facebook, and various Blogs designed to focus on different aspects of our processes. All of these are easily accessed via our website at lightwing.com.au. Also, visit our website to check out our very new and exciting two axis Flight Simulator featuring superb visuals and realistic action, and soon, the option to flight train in a simulation of our very own ALW SP2000.


 The Australian LightWing is a solid investment in safety. Purchasing the new GR-912-LSA means your Australian dollar goes towards this passionately created, hand sculpted and enduring emblem of Australian Aviation.


Pictured: The GR 912 in flight


Australia's Safest Light Sport Aircraft – www.lightwing.com.au


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.