Category Archives: high school

25 Years of Pacific Flyer




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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.

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The Australian LightWing High School Fly Program lives again


 September 2011

 In early August 2011 an eager group of  20 high school students and teachers from Ballina High School and Alstonville High School’s aviation studies course (years 9 to 12)  made an excursion to the Australian LightWing Aircraft factory on Southern Cross Drive, in North Ballina, to mark the beginning of this areas second aviation project where local high school students will build, complete and learn to fly an Australian LightWing  SP-2000 low wing Aircraft.

 Students at Ballina High School have previously completed their own Australian LightWing aircraft, a  GR-912 as part the “School Fly” aviation program in 1992 to 1995. This course was a complete success as many of those students have now gone on to gainful employment in the aviation industry. Barry Skinner  for example, now is an instructor teaching flight skills in some of the worlds most sophisticated military aircraft. This new School Fly Project will be building a much more complex aircraft, as the Australian LightWing SP2000 features a glass cockpit, a variable in flight pitch propeller, low wing, gull wing doors  and many more state of the art features not present in the older GR range of LightWing aircraft.

Australian LightWing will initially be sponsoring the aircraft build which will involve students from  a number of nearby high schools, giving students the opportunity to learn how to develop both their hands-on building skills and later on, their flying skills. These skills include:  2 and 3D CAD drawing, generating G codes for computer manufacture, metalwork, spray-painting, general assembly, the hands on aspects of wing design, cockpit safety and active design aspects of this,  basic stress analysis, upholstery; styling, computer aided navigation and much more. Its worth pointing out that the School Fly course at Ballina High,  has been running in both a flying and non a non flying mode (2 students have independently attained RAAus solo status) since 1992.

The project will take shape this coming term with completion due in 2013 giving the maximum number of students the opportunity to interact with the course over the next two years. In the final stage of the School Fly project, the high schools involved will be able to sell sponsorship in the form of advertising on the aircraft itself, use the aircraft for flight training or to sell the aircraft.

Hughes’ initial motives were to ensure an endless supply of bright-eyed additions to the aviation workforce, which was definitely not the case with the previous project as students have gone on to work in the Australian Defence Force and the Australian Virgin Blue Airline etc. The LSA category has been a breath of fresh air in the stuffy world of aircraft design and manufacture making it even more important to introduce a new breed of young and empowered aviation enthusiasts into the RA-Aus and GA fraternity.

 “We have to do everything possible to encourage young people into RA-Aus membership”, says Hughes, “As we strive for an evolving and safety focused future of light sport aircraft and aviators in Australia ”.

Through the School Fly program and also thanks to forward thinking teachers like Ballina High’s Mark Willacy, Australian LightWing is actively  spreading the word about the benefits that flow on from this innovative course. In the past, schools including Kent st High in WA, Moruya on the NSW south coast and others have all built LightWing aircraft  and simply using the RAAus syllabus, hundreds of students have experienced some if not all of the excitement of flying in an aircraft they have helped build, Nick Hughes puts it this way “ its just one big win, win situation” and as Nick was a student at Ballina High when the first GR-912 was built, no one knows better than  he does, how many skills can be learnt from the School Fly program.

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