Where Your Future Flying Career Begins
© Darling Downs Sport Aircraft Inc operating as ‘Lone Eagle Flying School’                 ABN:47 865 769 573
The Darling Downs Sport Aircraft Association Inc was formed in Toowoomba in 1976 as a social general aviation and vintage aircraft orientated club. The club struggled with membership hovering around 20 for years with only a handful of aircraft in the group. After the flying school was commenced in 2002, the membership numbers soon climbed to over 150 members with some 70 odd aircraft (25 being various models of Jabiru)  owned by members. In 1982 the first Fly-In at Clifton was held to commemorate the Golden Jubilee of the first glider flight by one of our club members in his Zoegling primary glider. Following this successful event, further Fly-Ins were held intermittently and then became a regular feature of the aviation calendar in 1992 with the Diamond Jubilee flight of the 1932 Zoegling primary glider. On this day three generations of the Bange family flew the same primary glider, John Bange, now 85,  the original builder and pilot, Trevor  his son who by now was a gliding instructor and power pilot and then Trevor's son James who was also a glider pilot. Both Trevor and James commented on the heavy controls of the primary glider and its lack of response compared to the modern sleek gliders that they were both used to flying. Another unique bit of history this day was that the primary glider was towed by the original 1925 Chevrolet car that was used in 1932. With an ever increasing number of members building and owning recreational aircraft the club "adopted" the Clifton (Bange) airfield, as its prime operating site. As club life member Trevor Bange (with his wife Janet) had retired to the airfield to "rest, recuperate and do some flying" the club opened the Lone Eagle Flying School in December 2002 offering tri-axis recreational accredited flying training with one Drifter aircraft.
The school commenced with Stewart Cook the flying schools first Chief Flying Instructor (CFI) and Trevor as Senior Instructor, until Trevor took over the role of CFI in early 2003. Trevor remained the only instructor but was soon joined by Murray Knight, a fellow gliding instructor, then Jim Benn from Greenmount who had done his training with Trevor. Murray went on to become a CFI of his own flying school based out of Brisbane and  Jim departed to live on King Island (lucky soul).  Daniel King took on the role as second instructor at the school. Daniel also had done his flying training at Clifton. During the years that followed the schools opening a number of members, Trevor Bange, Ron Muir, Clive Nielsen, Mark Tyler, Mick Jahnke and Craig Bainbridge were upskilled in aircraft maintenance to maintain the ever increasing club fleet. All engineers, instructors and numerous other members donate their efforts and time into supporting and advancing the club. It soon became evident that recreational aviation training was an exploding part of the aviation scene and the club purchased its second Drifter in May 2004, to be followed later in 2007 with its first fibreglass Jabiru 160c on cross hire from Bill Wall. This was followed soon after with the cross hire of a Jabiru J230d from John Bridger.  In 2014 the club purchased its second Jabiru 160c from fellow club instructor Daniel King. During this time the club also purchased and established an onsite office block, toilet block and hangar. In 2005 the flying school commenced the annual junior flying scholarship to pilot certificate standard at no cost to the student, with the view of introducing youth into aviation. The RAAus GYFTS programme was evolved from this scholarship. With a fleet now comprising two Drifters (tailwheel endorsements) and three Jabiru, the flying school now offers the opportunity for members to have safe, affordable aviation for all, usually with minimal waiting times