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.
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Darkest before dawn? I hear growing concern about FAA’s new Mosaic regulation and what it will or won’t do.
Somewhere, it seems like a group of light plane developers must have held a meeting and decided that low wing manufacturers needed to broaden their line to include high wings.
Normally, this website focuses tightly on airplanes and the equipment and services needed to keep them flying.
The weeklong celebration of flight known around the planet as “Oshkosh” is now history.
Splog: Look Out, Legacies! Light-Sport Aircraft in Flight Schools Operated by the Aircraft Representative
For years, I have been interviewing suppliers of Light-Sport Aircraft about how functional and durable their SLSA are for flight training.
Are excited general aviation pilots kidding themselves about BasicMed? At least one prominent light aviation expert thinks so and judging from comments I’ve received, I am inclined to say this is much more common than some want to believe.
As I’ve indicated many times in the last couple years, this website seeks to deliver news and video about Light-Sport Aircraft, light kit aircraft, ultralights, and light GA aircraft.
Among the critiques some old school pilots employ when trying to marginalize Light-Sport Aircraft is that these aircraft are not suited to flying long distances.
In this Copperstate Part 2 article we resume the list of aircraft Videoman Dave and I reviewed at the show south of Phoenix, Arizona in Casa Grande.
Light-Sport Aircraft comprise an diverse gaggle of some beautiful airplanes. Choices are available in a dizzying array of configurations and variations.
The “Big Show” is just days away, so of course, journalists and readers are asking what will be present?
It’s almost time! — The tents are in place. Most of the displays are built.
When you deliver an airplane to an accomplished video producer you are bound to get some great photos out of the deal.
One year ago Rotax announced a contest to award a brand-new 912 engine to the flight school that achieved the first time between overhaul (TBO) of 2,000 hours on a Rotax 912 iS model that the engine builder had just released.
Taildraggers may be among the least understood and most feared aircraft available in the LSA space … or for that matter throughout general aviation.
A couple days ago I wrote about the Sling 4-4-40 Challenge.
Last weekend Zenith Aircraft held another of their open house events.
The Great Recession was the pits … for nearly all industries and most employees or small business owners.
Welcome to summertime … in December, just after Christmas?!? True, down under in Australia or partway around the southern hemisphere in South Africa, weather patterns are roughly opposite of those in the northern half the globe.
Several Florida airports have been active during the recession in their efforts to pull new clients.
Another busy week finished a very active August that has seen high readership… for which we sincerely thank you.
Normally I don’t write about record attempts or exceptional flights until they are completed and even then only if they are significant.
Have you been thinking that it’s been some time since a new Special LSA was announced?
Splog: In A Sling – And Happy!
The more I look into the story about those two wild and crazy South African dudes (post below) who flew around the world in the LSA of their own design and manufacture, the more interesting it gets.
Last July I ran an item on the grand LSA adventure of two South Afrikaaners, James Pitman and Mike Blyth, who set out to fly around the world — in an LSA!
For most pilots flying 100 hours represents a decent year of enjoying aviation.