Category Archives: RA-Aus

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!

1.

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)

2.

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!

3.

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

4.

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

 

 

5.

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??!!

 

 

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

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!

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.

 

 

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

Looking Back… Looking Forward…


Looking back over newsletters as far as 1986 ( a LightWing owner recently emailed me a scanned copy of the first newsletter we ever put out dated summer 1986! )… It read like a company history warts and all. Like the 2 cyl 2 stroke Sarich engine we planned fitting  to the GR-532, the engine never eventuated ! Float planes in, on or over the Richmond River, all great fun and nearly 30 years on, little has changed. Thanks to our new Richo colour printer, we now put out our newsletter in colour and print it in-house, but the fun is still alive and well.

We departed for NATFLY at Temora 2013 on a sad note with the death of Wayne Fisher. Wayne was a true aviation pioneer being the first to do legal aerobatics in his own re-designed Drifter. Wayne was testing a 2 seat homebuilt RV-12 when he hit the Lismore runway inverted. No reasons for the accident have been determined yet. The accident comes after detailed articles on test flying home built aircraft where published in the EAA January magazine. Wayne leaves three beautiful daughters and the same number of past wives, all of whom will miss him. No doubt the EAA saw the potential risks associated with test-flying new aircraft and sought to provide advice.

Well, a newsletter is supposed to contain news and we have this in spades. Our 6 seater progresses slowly toward its maiden flight in 2014, our Road-e electric car grows towards a very different form of sustainable personal transport, we recently tested the prototype at Evans Head airpark where a distance travelled of 90 km was recorded.  The re-design of the SP-2000 tooling, we hope, will contribute toward successful and pending joint ventures with not one but two Chinese prospective partners. Our trip to China last autumn  saw us visit Chinese start-up aviation company, Soar, located in Hebie Provence  (about 300 km north of Beijing), where their new factory was mind-bogglingly impressive.  Peter Addams  of Seabird Aviation, has signed a deal with Soar and we hope to follow suit in the  future.

Please call in at Ballina and have a look at our revamped showroom and lounge upstairs, check out our VIP in-flight prop, our CAN PC driven nav. software and soon, our latest flight school aid, our motion flight simulator. We look forward to seeing you soon and hope you enjoyed the NATFLY Temora fly-in.

at Temora 2013
at Temora 2013

Second Biennial NORRA-AUS Monto-Fly-in


Hey there! We hope to see you at the Monto Fly In September 29 to the 1st October.

 

Hughes Engineering will be taking along one of our superb SP2000 aircraft to view and experience.

We love a good fly in and this one will be great!

We hope to see lots of other aircraft from the Australian LightWing family there so come along and check out these great aircraft.

 

Monto is located in Far North Queensland near Gladstone and Bundaberg. It’s going to be a beautiful trip. Here’s a few airport details in case you’re going to be flying in http://www.flightstats.com/go/Airport/airportDetails.do?airportCode=MNQ

 

You can find out more information about the event at the RAA website here: http://www.raa.asn.au/norra-aus-2012/

 

See you there!

 

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.

Sp2000

The SP6000


The SP6000 Under Construction

 

Note that in the picture shown above, the fact that the body mould for our new six seat SP6000 looks a little like a beached whale augurs well for the aerodynamic shape of this new aircraft.

Shown in this picture, is the middle and rear sections of the body, which to all-intense purposes, are a scaled down A330 Airbus.

The tail sweeps up to the oval shaped bulkhead, which will accept the rear stern spar of the vertical and horizontal stabilisers.

Current calculations indicate that large though this aircraft is, it may well be registrable in the “RA-Aus category” with a maximum take-off weight of 600 kilograms, however, this amazing development will be contingent on the new Metal Works four cylinder boxer engine, generating 160 horse power with an engine weight similar to that of the Rotax 912s.

If all of these events come to pass then it’s vaguely possible that this large aircraft will come in under RA-Aus weights. What will this mean to you the RA Aus pilot?

Firstly, a cavernous rear section to this aircraft which will be capable of carrying two bunks, or a basic live onboard accommodation or a couple of bicycles for your camping trip or even floats.

However, in order to pull this off we will need to build and extremely lightweight carbon fibre body shell for the SP6000.

No designation has been developed for the RA-Aus version of this aircraft, if we are able to produce it, but watch this space.

Don’t worry if this photo makes little sense, watch this space for further developments for this amazing aircraft!

Temora Easter Airshow


Hey!!

We hope to see you at NATFLY 2011 at Temora in just a few weeks now!!

Good Friday, 22nd April to Easter Sunday, 24th April

Come and join us at Temora! We will see you there and you’ll see the ALW SPEED!!!

NATFLY looks set to be bigger than ever – so come and visit the event that brings us all together. Make sure you mark this weekend in your calendar.

For more information check out the RA-Aus web site, and for accommodation information, please contact Ann Pike at the Temora Tourist Information Office. Ann has details on motels, hotels, B&Bs, home-stays and much more!

Email apike@temora.nsw.gov.au or telephone 02 6977 1511.

http://www.auf.asn.au/market/calendar.html