Category Archives: current news

Handy Home Building Tips


Today we’d like to feature some handy homebuilding tips from the team at Australian LightWing.

We spend our waking hours focused completely on handcrafting and manufacturing Australia’s Safest Light Sport Aircraft, so we’d like to share our TOP TIPS on the subject!

Enjoy! And please feel free to share with us your best tips.

Tezza’s Top Tip regards drilling holes. If you take a small piece of fabric and place it between the drill bit and the alloy you’re drilling, it will give the hole a perfect even circle. Without the rag you’ll find the drill bit can catch and leave a ragged edge. Not what you want for the perfection required in building a light aircraft.

Rag Drill Drilling

Nick’s Top Tip: Nick recommends you line all the parts up, neat and organised, in a clean working environment. Keep the area and the tools clean and respect your shed! This ensures the tools don’t go missing, things don’t get lost, and parts don’t get damaged.

Hinge Parts and Tools Bolts Ready Wheels Bolts

Andy’s Top Tip was short and to the point. R.T.F.M.Parts Manual Thanks Andy 🙂

Bruce’s Top Tip is to ensure the hinges and pins on the control surfaces remain well lubricated. Don’t let weather or wear leave your moving parts in any kind of disrepair. In the air, your control surfaces are you’re best friend! (Bruce suggests using Wurth 2000 Spray  Grease, but this is in no way a sponsored tip. That’s just his two cents).

Control Surfaces

Shelly’s Top Tip is to organise your photos on your computer in folders. Under the parent folder of aircraft, then folders by aircraft type, into which the folders are named by date. This makes finding the SP2000 photo easy, as well as the GA 55 – 912.

Australian LightWing SP Tail Dragger GA-55 912

Howie’s Top Tip is drink good coffee, buy a printer that works and invest in the Standard Practices Manuals. But that’s just today’s tips. He’s got plenty. That’s what our various Blog’s are all about!

Thanks for reading. Please do share your homebuilding tips – we’d love to hear them!

Australian LightWing’s Flight Simulator


Australian Lightwing’s fascination with flight simulation goes back to the early 80’s when we dabbled in the manufacture of what turned out to be a fairground ride. It was a capsule that sat eight people and moved in sync with movies that were shown on the screen inside the capsule. This device was trailer able and could be towed to air shows. The concept being that whilst at air shows it would generate an income.

This worked quite well, however the ‘Reality Simulator’, as we called it, was sold to an Italian entrepreneur in the 90’s. We delivered it and subsequently lost track of the device.

More recently however, an actual flight simulator has been built which runs proprietary flight simulation programs such as ‘X Plane’, ‘FSX’ (Flight Simulator X) or ‘Prepar3D’.

The simulator moves in two dimensions or has two Degrees of Freedom (DOF), as the current flight sim vernacular puts it. The Simulator also features a super wide screen video projector and all in all the result is nothing short of spectacular.

We have yet to go down the CASA certification track to get the simulator approved for flight training but this is unlikely to be a very difficult step.

The reality of the flight simulator is marvellous and it’s certainly more than possible to get a basic grounding in flight training from our system.

Navigation exercises can be carried out, also instrument flying. A GPS is on the screen at all times and quite a wide variety of aircraft can be loaded into the computer and flown from jumbo jets to a simulation our very own ALW SP2000 which we are currently working on.

We plan on installing the first Simulator in our Australian LightWing Showroom at the Ballina airport in the Northern Rivers, NSW, Australia.

(Pictured, The Flight Simulator in the Workshop at Australian LightWing)

Flight Simulator

Flight Simulator Screen

Don’t shoot the messenger


Don’t blame the executives. Or to put it another way, don’t shoot the messenger !

I recently travelled to Canberra to attend the  extraordinary RAAus AGM. I went there not expecting too much, at least Jenny and I would enjoy a weekend away and a stay with good buddy and LightWing owner George Jennings (Snowman). We got both.

The meeting presented a clearing area for some members to get their gripes off their chests. There were many motions put and much hot air dispersed. Eugene Read, for example, was castigated for being a month late presenting the accounts, he had the accounts on the day and they looked great- RAAus is in the red by a small amount, I suggested the audience look at the vacant shops in Canberra, in the street outside the venue, things are tough, but RAAus is doing just fine financially. I moved a vote of confidence in the board but no one took much notice of this.

Paul Middleton was under fire from the critics but he drew the analogy that all the various aircraft that had been picked up in the CASA audit as not complying where like rocks in a sieve, some fell through while the sieve trapped others. This suited my perception so I volunteered to be a rock in Pauls sieve.

That got a laugh and the meeting needed some humor !

Now, I did a little research prior to going to Canberra because I knew the trip was going to cost, so I wanted my moneys worth. I had found that there where “issues of governance” that the RAAus agenda needed overhauling and so on.  Call me old fashioned  but I like concrete things, things that cast a shadow,  “issues of governance “ don’t cast shadows and I have difficulty coming to terms with “issues”. I prefer  Middo’s rocks.

I described how an Australian LightWing owner who had owned a GR LightWing on a 10 sq mile property out the back of Bourke for about 25 years, had been pipped because he had a non-compliant propellor fitted to his aircraft and this had been picked up on his registration renewal. Now just have a think about this. This guy has been flying for decades, minding his own business and the CASA audit picks up this non-compliance, you could say “good job CASA” as this is pretty good auditing, but, the reason for this is simple. Back in 1985 when the aircraft was first registered the specifications showed a Catto prop. Back then there where few options when it came to props, Bolly had not been invented nor had Ivo or Brolga, so we selected the Catto. Problem was that over the years, alternatives came along. To vary a prop on a CAO 95.25 aircraft takes a lot of work. A CAR 35 engineer must be employed to do the sums, flight testing, reports etc and you can blow $5 to $10 K easy, so we never went down that path. We simply fitted mainly Bolly props and left the approvals to Bolly, which he obtained, not all strictly Cosha (that’s the jewish term meaning ok isn’t it ? it pisses me off when the spell check has no alternatives) but workable, safe and cost effective. Nevertheless, a rock in Pauls sieve.

I tried to explain all this to the meeting, the story meant a lot to me as it exemplified the situation and showed it for what it was, a storm in a teacup in this particular instance. No doubt this non-compliance was minor and there where a few major instances where imported aircraft simply and clearly did not meet the standards under which RAAus had accepted them like LSA or CAO 101.55 but most non-compliance issues were simple paperwork things and many were, and remain, the fault of individual members failing to send the appropriate photograph or form. About now the meeting is getting pissed at me and my rock analogy and I am starting to doubt the wisdom  of my weekend away in the nations capital.

I came away from the meeting with the belief that RAA was in good shape albeit with a few stuff ups to be sorted out, none the least of which appears to be a law suit over a fatal accident involving a non compliant aircraft, oops !

For the rest of the weekend we explored Canberra, the  National Museum is  a great visit and the small steam driven paddle steamer (George is one of the engineers on this national treasure)  parked out the back was a real step back in time. We lunched in the revolving restaurant  overlooking Canberra at a surprisingly low price for fantastic food. A big thanks to George for acting as our tour guide for the weekend. George has been busy volunteering many weeks of his time sorting out us rocks at RAAus headquarters… thanks George !

ALW

Ra Aus

Ballina Hail Storm September 25th 2011


Hey, It’s totally off subject from our fantastic Australian LightWing Range of Aircraft, but we’ve had lots of friends call and check that we’re ok after a massive hail storm hit our sunny seaside town yesterday  (around 3pm, Sunday 25th September).

Thank you! The Australian LightWing team are all ok, although nursing a broken window, completely battered gardens and telling a ferocious beach fishing story – but our thoughts go out to all the people who were caught driving along on what was a sunny Sunday afternoon, and were suddenly caught in a blizzard of hail.

Here’s some photos of the beach between Ballina and Lennox Head straight after the storm.


This is the second time this year I have walked around on snow/ice in flip flops this year, The first being at Yosemite National Park in August. It’s a crazy old world…..