Only Australian on board
RUSSELL Middleton of Maryborough has joined an elite group of aviators – so elite that he’s the only Australian on board.
The South African-born pilot recently became the sole Australian distributor for IBIS Magic GS-700 ultra light aircraft. The only other distributor was forced to retire through illness.
Mr Middleton said aircraft parts were are built in Columbia, South America, shipped to Brisbane and assembled through Maryborough Aviation Services, providing work for four people.
IBIS ultra light aircrafts fly in national and international skies and are suited to pilot training, sport activities, air photography, parachuting and mustering on Australian outback cattle and sheep stations.
Mr Middleton said he stumbled upon the potential business while researching suitable aircraft to replace the ageing planes he had been using for his Maryborough and Gympie flying schools, Pro-Sky Aviation.
“They’re cheaper to run than general aviation planes,” he said.
“We’re getting inquiries from outback property owners and miners who want their own planes to fly in and out of the area for work.”
Mr Middleton said IBIS Magic ultra light planes were ideal for training young pilots who could obtain licences from 15 years of age, before they were able to drive cars.
He learnt to fly somewhat younger, however.
“I started flying with my father and uncle in Zimbabwe when I was a kid of about six years. As a teenager I stated jumping from planes, then went farming and eventually became an instructor. He moved to Maryborough from Gympie about three years ago.
Mr Middleton and wife Karin will soon fly an IBIS Magic GS-700 to Western Australia where they will demonstrate the aircraft to potential buyers.
IBIS Magics fly in the skies of the US, Mexico, Panama, Bolivia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Brazil, Spain, Greece and other countries.