Wheeler ‘Scout’ Skycraft Mark 1 microlight aircraft, 1978

Made by Wheeler, Ron in Carlton, New South Wales, Australia, 1976-1978.

This is a Skycraft Scout Mark I ultralight designed and made by Ron Wheeler between 1976 and 1978. The design and manufacture of ultralight aircraft, an aeroplane reduced to its most basic form, was pioneered in Australia by Ron.

Leisure aviation has been an activity pursued by a section of the Australian community for decades. Pre-World War II, the aero club movement with its government subsidised pilot training, allowed many people to learn to fly. Even so, the cost of training was prohibiti...


Object No.


Physical Description

Aircraft, full size, Skycraft Scout Mark I Microlight, ultralight, designed and made by Ron Wheeler, Australia, 1976-1978

The frame of the aircraft is made of extruded alloy sections braced with stainless steel stranded wire. The flying and control surfaces are dacron with batons inserted for additional rigidity. The aircraft is powered by a 'Pixie 153' two-stroke aero engine and is fitted with chain and sprocket transmission, with a skycraft laminated wood propeller. The aircraft can be fitted with either a wheeled undercarriage or floats for land or water usage. The pilot sits below the sing and regulates flight with the throttle and two axis control joy stick.

Engine Pixie 153 2-stroke
Cylinder 1
Power 9 kW (12hp)
Wingspan 7.4m
Weight 49.4kg (empty)
Maximum speed 78 km/h (42 knots)
Range 40 minutes



1900 mm


8700 mm


5100 mm


75 kg



In 1974 Ron Wheeler, a Sydney boat builder, took aircraft design back to basics. Although Mr Wheeler had no experience in aircraft design, he began the project in his spare time referencing information from his local technical college and council libraries. Using modern technologies of extruded aluminium and high strength synthetic fabrics, Wheeler produced one of the world's first microlight or minimum aircraft, the Skycraft Scout. The Scout is powered by a 12 horsepower engine behind which the pilot sits controlling the aircraft with a simple two axis joy stick. The aircraft is portable, able to be transported to the airfield and assembled on site and can be fitted with wheels or floats. Originally conceived as purely a recreational aircraft the Scout, like many pioneer aircraft, is a testament to the human desire for flight.

This aircraft is the first of the production models of the Scout Mark 1 to be produced. The first flight of the prototype Scout took place at Heathcote Oval, New South Wales in 1974. Wheeler, having already developed 'Tweetie', a successful hang glider, simply modified the design of the glider to have the pilot seated instead of hanging below the wings, and of course to accommodate an engine.

In 1975 Ron Wheeler approached The Department of Transport to issue an Air Navigation Order regulation for ultralight and minimum aircraft. Subsequently, the Department issued ANO 95.10 for unlicensed pilots to fly aircraft weighing less than 180 kilograms under a number of restrictive conditions, including altitude restrictions, and not to fly over sealed roads. This allowed the ultralight aircraft industry to take-off, and Wheeler went into full time production of the Scout as a leisure craft. The floats that are displayed attached to the Scout were designed by Wheeler and added to the aircraft in September 1977. The aircraft with floats was first displayed at the Schofield Air Show in 1978, and was the world's first microlight floatplane.

Ron Wheeler donated the aircraft to the Powerhouse Museum in 1985, and it has been on display in the Transport gallery since 1988.


Wheeler, Ron 1976-1978


Credit Line

Gift of Ron Wheeler under the Tax Incentive for the Arts Program, 1985

Acquisition Date

22 August 1985

Cite this Object


Wheeler 'Scout' Skycraft Mark 1 microlight aircraft, 1978 2015, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 20 October 2018, <https://ma.as/35031>


{{cite web |url=https://ma.as/35031 |title=Wheeler 'Scout' Skycraft Mark 1 microlight aircraft, 1978 |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=20 October 2018 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}
This object is currently on display in Transport at the Powerhouse Museum.


This object record is currently incomplete. Other information may exist in a non-digital form. The Museum continues to update and add new research to collection records.

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