The Airplane Factory USA
You have to admire the confidence of The Airplane Factory partners Mike Blyth and James Pittman as they took a fresh design and proceeded to circumnavigate the world during 40 days in 2009. This sounds like a fool's mission until you learn more about the principal designer. Mike had already flown the immense distance from the southern tip of South America up through Central and North America, across the Atlantic, down through Europe, across the Mediterranean, and north to south across Africa to his home base in South Africa. He called the trip "South to South" and even made a highly-watchable video about the experience. And these two incredible voyages are but a couple in his logbook of amazing flights.
Nonetheless, the success came not only from superior piloting skills and daring but from a long time acquiring knowledge of aircraft. Certainly, you get to know your plane very well in hundreds of hours of cross country flying but Mike also learned the intimate aspects of design work. Indeed, Sling was created using the latest computer software in so precise a fashion that taking off on a globe-girdling flight shortly after completing the airplane was a well-calculated risk. It was a challenge, aeronautically and physically, but neither Blyth nor Pittman worried excessively about their heavily-loaded Sling (carrying more than 700 pounds in fuel alone!). They knew it would do the job and they proved their claim in a dramatic fashion. Now, as they say, "You can fly the adventure!"
Maybe the best news about Sling's flight characteristics is that they are not in the least adventurous. The bird may have transported the South Africans around the planet but I found the design to have excellent control harmony (as good as the best I've flown), gentle stalls with ample warning, and great ease of landing. When you lower flaps no big pitch movement occurs though slips also worked well to get to the runway at the target point. Stability throughout the normal range of maneuvers I explored was entirely predictable. You won't find too many in the USA for demo flying in 2012 but two thoughts on that: (1) It's well worth a trip to where ever you'll find a Sling to take a flight; and, (2) the scarcity of Slings won't last long given agreeable pricing and wonderful airborne qualities. To become a Sling owner, better you act sooner than later as I predict growing sales for the boys of The Airplane Factory.
Phone: 424-241-0341Torrance, CA 90505
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