After coming across the Milholland Legal Eagle overseas, Darren Crompton decided to do some research back home as to whether this high-wing, strut-braced ultralight was available in Australia too. On Gumtree of all places, Darren came across a ‘kit’ (more so just a collection of materials) for sale in Queensland and decided to buy it. After shipping the materials down to Victoria in 2016, Darren embarked on a 2-year journey building the only Legal Eagle in Australia to this day.

Starting from scratch and building out the back of a yoga studio he used to own, Darren welded the chromoly tubing himself and built the spruce wings. He elected to use Oratex UL600 fabric for the coverings. “I love using the Oratex, it is just so easy to work with,” said Darren. Oratex is a heat shrink fabric, applied simply by gluing both the ribs and the fabric. Using a heat gun, it shrinks the fabric down into place “as tight as a drum”. Oratex comes pre-coloured, so there’s no need for painting or UV protection.

The Legal Eagle is powered by a 45hp, 1200cc Hummel ½ VW engine. Darren had the 2-cylinder, horizontally opposed engine shipped from the US and couldn’t be happier with his choice. “I’m thrilled with it… it motors along quite nicely,” he said. The engine powers a dual-blade Performance Propellers USA 56” x 24” prop and is fed by dual fuel tanks in the wings (a deviation from the original plans), giving the Legal Eagle an endurance of around 4 hours – more than capable of doing considerable touring.

On the dash, Darren went for a simplistic, lightweight approach using a mix of traditional steam gauges and a phone mount to allow for a variety of aviation apps. To simplify things further (and reduce weight), Darren plans to upgrade the panel to a permanently mounted tablet.

Over the years, Darren has continued to make adjustments, changes and upgrades to his aircraft. Fitting tundra tyres and creating a more rounded tail are just some of the changes from the original plans, making the Legal Eagle more reminiscent of a small-scale Cub.

Completing the build in 2018, the Legal Eagle now lives in Leongatha, Victoria, where Darren enjoys flying along the Gippsland coast. Only doing relatively short flights, Darren is planning some larger trips coming into the warmer months. “As to where I don’t know yet, but it’s definitely on the cards,” said Darren. As a sophisticated little ultralight, it’s amazing that Darren’s is the only one of its kind in Australian skies. See Darren’s Legal Eagle build in detail at