Airborne Windsports Pty.
Airborne started trading as a company in 1983 and operated out of Redhead near Newcastle Australia. Airborne directly employs 30 people and exported to more than 30 countries in 2009. 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 earlydays 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.
Glider design was improving rapidly and before long true foot launch hang gliders were developed and the boys were soon launching off coastal dunes and then cliffs.
The Duncan brothers regularly competed in overseas hang gliding comps. To supplement their income they started to teach hang gliding under the name of Airborne Windsports Pty Ltd. Another partner and friend Chris Brandon was also part of the company.
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 Duncans with their mechanical backgrounds soon designed a purpose built two seater microlight which could be used for taking passengers and training.
1985: Airborne Windsports Pty Ltd,. 39 Griffith St, Charlestown, NSW 2290. Australia.
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. Manufacturers were then required to certify to a standard.
Certification of the Edge model microlight proceeded. Paul Mollison engineer and keen hang glider pilot joined the company. Paul became the technical director and was responsible for writing the standard, which became CASA document called CAO 95.32.
Around the same time Rob Hibberd who was also flying hang gliders joined Airborne as a Director. The now six partners continued to re-design the Edge microlight so that it would comply with the new standard. Meanwhile all 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 a hang glider.
A 3 car garage was where Airborne's serious manufacturing started, then became too small and the company moved to a "real" factory. Airborne then ventured into glider design and produced an intermediate glider called the Breeze.
Airborne certifies designs to Australian Civil Aviation and UK Civil Aviation standards. Airborne holds production approvals from the Australian Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA).
A crop spraying system has been developed to use on Airborne microlights for a low cost option for aerial spraying of crops.
1998: 12/30 Kalaroo Rd, NSW 2290 Redhead, Australia.