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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

Map

 

 

Amazing Deal from Australian LightWing


You can get an SP2000 KIT Aircraft for the most a-m-a-z-i-n-g price you’ve ever seen.

Get your hands on your own Australian LightWing SP2000.

Check out this 3 min clip of your Australian LightWing homebuilding dream!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qlhBBN48XWo&feature=youtu.be

Blue SP2000 Cockpit Blue SP2000

 

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.

 

 

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.

alwLOGO

 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.

alwGR912

Pictured: The GR 912 in flight

 

What’s Happening Today?


Before we tell you anything about anything – we need to let you know about a truly great deal available at the moment – We have a Factory Demonstrator SP2000 – two seat aircraft available for sale RIGHT NOW. This stunning aircraft is available for the amazing price of AU$120,000.00 OR NEAREST OFFER – All offers will be considered. This deal will not last long. The SP2000 Features: Autopilot, Odyssey Glass Panel, VIP Prop, 4 point Harness, Microair Transponder, ICOM VHF Radio, Optional Cert. of Airworthiness. This aircraft has 60 hours flying time. Please contact us immediately! fly@lightwing.com.au or call (02) 6686 8658

The Blue SP2000

 

Blue SP2000

 

Blue SP2000 Cockpit

2014 has taken off like a rocket here at the Australian LightWing Factory.

Today in the Australian LightWing factory we are focusing on the wings, fuselage and power plant for the new aircraft currently under construction for our excited return customer in Central Queensland, inland from Longreach.

The new aircraft is a combination of technologies developed here at Australian LightWing. It will feature the strong and light weight fabric fuselage of our original aircraft design principals – the ALW GR and ALW Sport models, combined with the more spacious fuselage (and therefore cockpit) of the newer models- the complete ALW SP Range. This new aircraft design features a high wing, large baggage area, the Rotax 912 100hp engine and is a tail dragger, which is all focused on combating the harsh, unforgiving and beautiful Australian outback.

This aircraft was to be called the Tapis – but the original Tapis design has a nose wheel! So we are currently workshopping the name of the new aircraft- Do you have any ideas or suggestions you feel we should consider?!?! We’re brainstorming ideas that hope to define the fusion of our tried and true design principals of the ultra light fabric body, with the strength and power of the new airframe and power plant. We appreciate and look forward to your ideas! Please share them either in the comments below, via email (fly@lightwing.com.au), or with us and our aviation community on the Australian LightWing Facebook page.

The fuel tanks are currently being pressure tested and fitted to the wing main spar, whilst the rear spar is also being prepared. The Fuselage is being fitted out with the ALW foot pedals, wood paneling and upholstery. The power plant is also being prepped for attachment for to the firewall. You can take a closer look at the progress on a factory walk thru video (“Australian LightWing: New Fuselage” Monday 20th January 2014) at our Youtube channel and also on the Australian LightWing Instagram page, which hopes to provide some beautiful shots of the extreme attention to detail we take with our aircraft design and manufacture. We’re proud of our aircraft, and we want to show and share it with you!

Australian LightWing Fueslage Australian LightWing Fuel Tanks Australian LightWing Rear Spar Australian LightWing Fuel Tank Pressure Test Australian LightWing Fuel Tanks to Main Spar Rotax 912 uls 100hp Australian LightWing

In other news, The Australian LightWing Team were delighted to attend the Great Eastern Fly In at Evans Head last week. The Fly In was captured by the awesome crew at the Byron Bay Echo DailyNet Team. You can view the video here. You’ll catch an interview with our very own Nick Hughes at about 6.30mins! Onya Nick! You can sign up to their daily email send out of news and entertainment for the North Coast.

Also in the Factory, we are working on the Australian LightWing Flight Simulator.

And, we have invested in a new coffee machine for Christmas. So expect updates on our passionate, friendly and efficient work as quick as you can say caffeine high.

Thanks for reading our Factory Update, if you would like any more information, please contact us, or sign up for our newsletter!

Many thanks, and we hope to see you soon,

The Team at Australian LightWing.

A walk down Memory Lane


Through the joys of social media we are so very delighted that we can connect with Australian LightWing owners and flying enthusiasts, from the past, at the present and, hopefully, in the future. Through sharing photos, flying adventure stories, youtube movies and more, the community of Australian LightWing owners only grows stronger all the time.

We at Australian LightWing would just like to say a big thank you for staying in contact, visiting the factory, attending fly-ins and staying passionate about light sport aircraft flying, safety, and aviation in Australia. It’s a beautiful country we live in and the best way to see it is to get out there and experience all that is has to offer.

Head on over to our Facebook page to stay up to date with the SP Range, the Road-e Electric Vehicle and the SP6000 six seat project underway in the factory.

Take a stroll down memory lane with some of these happy snaps from owners around Australia.

featured, hanggliding

Where it all began…. Hang gliding over Lennox Head land.

alws@airshow

So Many Australian LightWing’s all in a line!

Doug Evans ALW 032Australian LightWing: Still going strong #0032

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