Unit 22/30 Kalaroo Road
Redhead NSW 2290
Po Box 7042
Redhead NSW 2290
Phone and Fax
Phone 02 4944 9199
Fax 02 4944 9395
International +61 2 4944 9199
Established in 1983 and operating out of Redhead near
Newcastle Australia, Airborne directly employs 30 people
and exports to more than 30 countries.
Airborne is a world leader in microlight aircraft design
and currently certifies these designs to Australian Civil
Aviation and UK Civil Aviation standards, currently the
highest level of certification in the industry. This has
allowed Airborne to sell it's aircraft into strictly regulated
markets such as the UK, Germany, and Israel. Other markets
the company sells to include China and the USA.
Airborne microlights are also used by some international organizations for
Conservation and Archeology projects. Microlights
operating in Indonesia and Africa have monitored and
protected animals such as Elephants and Orangutans.
A crop spraying system has been developed to use on Airborne
microlights and this will allow countries like China and
some African nations a low cost option for aerial spraying
of their crops.
The company also manufacture's a complete range of hang gliders for the World
market to suit novice, intermediate and advanced pilots.
Airborne holds production approvals from the Australian
Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA). The companies production
system is audited by that authority on a regular basis.
Airborne started trading as a company in 1983. Founders
Shane, Ricky and Russell Duncan were the sons of keen
water skier and hang glider pilots Anne and Kevin
Duncan. Anne and Kev taught the boys to ski and then
to fly in the early days of tow kites. At the time
the boys were as young as 12 years. Kevin was into
flying competition. He flew a 1000 foot per minute
sink rate tow kite. The aim was to complete as many
360 degree turns before touching down on the water.
Another member of the Airborne team in those early
days was close family friend Chris Brandon. Chris's
parents Eric and Denise were a part of the water ski/kite
towing family as well and helped inspire the boys
to fly and eventually make flying a part of their
Glider design was improving rapidly and before long
true foot launchable hang gliders were developed and
the boys were soon launching off coastal dunes and
then cliffs. Soaring flights with hours duration were
happening around the World and from this a competition
The lads regularly competed in overseas hang gliding
comps. To supplement their income they started to
teach hang gliding under the name of Airborne Windsports
Airborne imported a microlight (trike) from the UK
in the early 80's. It was to be used as a means to
launch hang gliders. The boys with their mechanical
backgrounds soon designed a purpose built two seater
microlight which could be used for taking passengers
In 1987 the government Horscotts inquiry into ultralight
accidents changed the way manufacturers developed
and sold ultralights. Airborne were already load testing
wings and had never had problems with structural failure.
This came out in the inquiry along with other evidence
and subsequently the rules changed. Manufacturer's
were then required to certify to a standard.
Cross country flying using thermals became the format
for competition and in 1988 Rick Duncan became World
Champion. This prestigious hang gliding event was
held in Mount Buffalo Australia renowned for it's
excellent flying conditions. The last day saw pilots
flying through a spectacular storm and gliding into
goal. Rick won the championships by an impressive
Airborne were selling their popular two seater called
the Buzzard Arrow which was setup to teach
people to fly. Paul Mollison engineer and keen hang
glider pilot joined the company. Paul became the technical
director and was responsible for writing the standard
which is now a CASA document called CAO 95.32.
Rob Hibberd also a competition hang glider pilot
joined Airborne as a Director and started to fly and
teach on trikes whilst running the hang gliding school.
The now six partners decided certification was going
to be a costly process and new that the Buzzard Arrow
would not comply. They decided to redesign and came
up with the Edge model microlight and proceeded to
load test it to the new standard. Meanwhile all the
directors were still flying hang gliding comps and
supplementing their income through sponsorships and
teaching hang gliding and microlight flying. Airborne
was still yet to produce it's own hang glider back
then and was outsourcing trike wing sails.
The 3 car garage were Airborne's manufacturing started,
became too small and the company moved to a "real
factory". Airborne then ventured into glider
design and produced an intermediate glider called
To be continued....
The philosophy has always been simple - to create
an exceptionally safe and reliable aircraft finished
to the highest possible standard.