The image below of John Bange seemingly defying gravity is an iconic image of Australian cycling. This image was taken in 1930 on his dirt track on his property in Aviadell which is near Clifton in Queensland.
Images courtese of the State Library of Queensland
Little is known about John Bange’s love of cycling except for this image. John was born in Clifton in Queensland and was a farmer who was best known as an aviator and the pilot of the “Azure Star“. This was the first enclosed-fuselage glider to fly on the Darling Downs. The glider was 19 feet long with a width span of 40 feet. John lovingly built this glider with the help of the members of the Aviandell gliding club in Clifton. This was one of the first gliders ever to be constructed in Queensland.
John Bange, who was 25 years old at the time first flew the Azure Star on the 13th of March 1932. Reaching heights of 60 feet, and very fast speeds.
John devoted his life to farming and flying and was affectionately known as the “flying farmer”.
Little is know of Bange up until 1982. Where he celebrated the 50th anniversary of his initial flight by taking Azure Star back to the air. Recreating his historic flight at the ripe old age of 75. Bange possibly became the oldest pilot to fly a glider in Australia. A testament to the design and quality of the craftsmanship of his glider to be able to fly 50 years after it was created. His story made national coverage.
Channel 9 news story from 1982 on the occasion of the 50th Anniversary flight of the “AZURE STAR”