Category Archives: gr912lsa

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

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

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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

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.

GR912LSA

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.

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 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.

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Pictured: The GR 912 in flight