Category Archives: gr-912-lsa

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.

Gasfields

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…”

diamontina

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.

GRLSAinflight72

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

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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!

QLD

Map

 

 

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.

Audit

News


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.

pacificflyer

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.