Australian LightWing

About Us

Australian LightWing Mission Statement

Australian LightWing's goal is to provide sports aviation aircraft that conform to the worlds highest standards in style, performance and safety whilst maintaining customer relations that exceed our existing and future customers expectations.

Sp Range


The low wing two and four place SP-2000 and SP-4000, and now the new two and four seat high wing GR-912-LSA, represent the ultimate in stylish, comfortable and ergonomically superior aircraft. These features add up to an aircraft that will retain its resale value, be a pleasure to operate over its lifetime and provide years of safe reliable operation.


With over two hundred aircraft flying throughout Australia, the USA and the South Pacific, the Australian LightWing airframe in general, and the new SP airframe in particular, have earned a reputation for delivering industry standard performance. The SP specifications include a stall at 45 kts for low landing speed and a cruise at 100 kts plus, means a useful aircraft that can pay its way in either a commercial or private area of operation.


Since our beginning in 1986, that's almost three decades of manufacturing and with a fleet of over two hundred aircraft, no other manufacturer in the world can match our impeccable safety record.

We attribute our aircrafts safety to a number of factors including superior aerodynamic design, the design of our pilot protection space frame, backup and redundant systems for fuel, electrical and other mission critical attributes and our level of safety is further enhanced by an on-going manufacturing and customer communication system aimed at minimizing the possibility of safety issues becoming critical in the future.

Through a comprehensive and on-going education initiative, Hughes Engineering has played its part in passing on the knowledge and skills of aircraft design, manufacture and operation to those interested students in our region, interstate and overseas. Ballina High School (NSW) Kent St WA and Moruya High School (NSW) have aviation studies as part of their education curriculum. We also frequently welcome Australian and intertational intership students, particularly working in contact with the Delft University in the Nederlands. Please visit our Education Oppourtunities page if you are interested in this.

Why Aircraft?

Flying is our hobby, our passion and our life. It’s for this reason that we love to pass on our skills to others. We love to fly, it's the last frontier, there are no speed limits in the sky, rules are simple and this century will see some pretty interesting advances in personal aviation.

At Hughes Engineering, our company strategy is to provide products that have practical applications throughout the four market segments that we serve, which are:
1. Flight Training,
2. Rural Activities,
3. Recreation and
4. The Business Traveler.

The approach to sales and marketing at Hughes Engineering is personalized and friendly as we are a family company. We know our customers by name and we offer a high level of personalized service and after sale service.

Our aircraft and products are competitive due to the relative simplicity of manufacture and the way in which we use our manufacturing techniques to produce stylish, functional and above all, a safe means of transport.


Our History

The 1970's

Hughes Engineering began as a boat building and general engineering company in the late 70’s in Smith Drive, West Ballina, NSW, and we engaged in marine manufacture.

The neighbourliness that existed at Smith Drive was astounding, fun and joyous. Our kids grew up in this wonderful environment of work and play intermingled and totally blurred in the overlap. I’m sure this stamped on ours and other children in the area an indelible mark of respect for the process of "living to work", rather than vice versa. It was a true mix of hard-nosed individuals who all enjoyed their work and also enjoyed producing quality homes, boats and then on to aircraft.

We began building two seat single engine high wing aircraft in 1985 in response to a new set of government regulations that permitted, if not encouraged, such development. Our birthday is known as 29 September 1986, as this is the date we registered our first certificated Australian LightWing (ALW), a GR-532 and the AUF number was 25-0032, its factory airframe number was 001.

Happy snaps from the early days.


 The 1980's

We aimed at producing a safe, enclosed cockpit aircraft. When we began, the only ultralight aircraft that were produced in Australia were made of alloy pipe and covered in yacht sail material, they where generally open and offered little protection from either the wind or collision. We have found that our lightweight welded steel space frame fuselage provides the best protection in the event of an incident. Our safety record is our pride, we design our airframes to withstand severe impacts and keep the occupants safe.

In these early years up to twenty aircraft were produced each year and the company enjoyed a significant market share of the Sports Aviation market in Australia.

It's a bit fuzzy, but this is a picture of our first aircraft, Howie Hughes in the pilot seat, taking off on the runway in the cane paddocks of West Ballina, which is now the housing estate next to Ballina Bunnings and the Big Prawn.


The 1990's - Certification

Relocation – Mid 90’s

In 1995 Hughes Engineering re-located at the airport, Peter Thorpe, the then Ballina CEO, instigated this subdivision and was delighted we where to the first business attracted to his new airport. Since 1985, about two hundred aircraft have been produced averaging about ten per year. Our aircraft have been mostly sold as fully built aircraft.

During the 90’s, the company’s focus shifted to the certification of the range of light aircraft and at the end of the decade the company held two Type Certificates for the ALW Sport 2000 and the GR 912 aircraft. Both these aircraft are high wing monoplanes and are certified to the Australian Standard CAO- 101.55.

We recently established a US distributor, a company called called ‘AirGyro’. The CEO Don Oldham test flew the SP-2000 prototype in late 2006 and was so impressed by the vehicle and its performance that he placed ongoing orders for 2007/8 and onwards into the next decade. Don Oldham has dealership networks established around the USA where he currently sells a basic sports gyro plane and it is anticipated that the SPEED Range will slot into this sales and distribution network with around six aircraft to be produced in 2008 twelve in 2009, eighteen in 2010. These will be supplied as a mixture of both two seat LSA certified aircraft and four seat kit aircraft.


The 00's

The SPEED Range has developed into a range of two, four and six seat aircraft. These aircraft feature a low wing configuration and a higher cruise speed from the rest of the Australian LightWing range to date.

The Company has also focused it's attention towards the Road-e Electric Vehicle and producing the Cunning Cat Catamaran.


The 20-teen's

Since 2010 to present, Hughes Engineering has developed a state of the art flight training simulator, with two degree's of motion and a high quality projector delivering a super wide curved screen pilot's view and additonal screen for controls. The Simulator is on display in the Showroom at the Ballina Factory.

The Electric Vehicle Road-e project has developed further with designs and redesigns taking it in new directions including the possibility of a flying car version.

The SP Range has been recieved warmly by the aviation enthusiasts across Australia and the United States. There are a number of two seat aircraft and a SP4000 (four seat) flying in South Australia.

Hughes Engineering continues to thrive as a family inspired and driven business.


Australian LightWing Owners in Australia: