Keith

Overview

Sling TSi logo

The Sling TSi, like its predecessors, has received critical acclaim for its capabilities, effortless handling and all-round functionality. The name ‘TSi’ is a homage to its Rotax 915 iS engine and marks a new chapter in TAF’s vision to build the world’s most loved light aircraft.

Mike Blyth, founder of The Airplane Factory had this to say of their latest development; "The brand-new Sling TSi stands out as the new standard for 4-seat experimental aircraft. It outperforms most others in every way. Compared to previous models it has increased speed, increased rate of climb, longer range, increased carrying capacity, more space and greater comfort all whilst flying the best handling aircraft in its class!"

The Sling TSi is powered by a 141hp Rotax 915 iS Fuel Injected Turbo Charged Engine burning just 8 gph (31 lt/hr) in the cruise. During test flights, the aircraft reached a maximum straight and level speed of 155 KTAS and has a range of 800 Nm. With its luxurious cabin, low fuel burn and Garmin avionics, it will please private pilots and flight-training organisations alike. This 4-place aircraft comes standard with a bespoke 3 blade Airmaster constant speed propeller, Garmin 10 inch G3X touch EFIS, Garmin G5 backup EFIS, Garmin GTR 200 COM radio, Garmin GTX 35R remote transponder, Garmin autopilot system with GMC 307 autopilot controller and PM 1000 II 4-place intercom.

The completely redesigned exterior features high quality materials and design integrity, as well as great practicality and a range of technologies to improve comfort, convenience and safety.
The result is an aircraft with an uncompromising mission: To offer unrivalled performance, safety and reliability in the hands of all pilots no matter the mission.



Contact Sales Team
011 948 9898
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Specs & Performance

Configuration

The Sling TSi is our new addition to the Sling light sports aircraft family, featuring 4-seats and
powered by a 141hp Rotax 915 iS Fuel Injected Turbo Charged Engine.
To view the Sling TSi's Specifications and Performance, please right click on the icon below, select "save target as" and save the PDF to view it later.

pdfSling TSi Brochure / pdfSling TSi Specifications

Weights
Standard equipped empty weight 1,080 lbs / 490 kg
Maximum Takeoff Weight 2,094 lbs / 950 kg
Maximum Useful load 1,014 lbs / 460 kg
Engine
Manufacturer Bombardier‐Rotax GmbH
Model 915 iS
Horsepower 142 hp @ 5 500 rpm (Continuous)
Dimensions
Wingspan 31 ft 2 in / 9.5 m
Length 23 ft 5 in / 7.175 m
Height 5 ft 9 in / 1.81 m
Cabin Width 44 in / 1.8 m
Performance
Maximum Allowable Speed (Vne) 145 ktas / 167 mph
Cruise Speed - 75% Power - 6000ft AMSL 135 kias / 155 mph
Stall Speed - Clean 57 ktas / 66 mph
Stall Speed - Full Flaps 45 kcas / 52 mph
Maximum Demonstrated Crosswind 15 ktas / 17 mph
Landing Distance - Braked 558 ft / 170 m
Rate of Climb - Sea Level 1000 fpm
Maximum Operating Altitude 18,000 ft / 5,486 m
Limit loads +3.8 g and -1.9 g
Wing loading 82.54 kg/m²
Power loading 6.74 kg/hp

 

 
 
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Ready To Fly Information

  • Standard Equipment

    Rotax 915 iS (142 hp) turbo engine Stainless steel exhaust
    Sling TSi constructed from CNC punched aircraft grade aluminium Direct cool air into composite airbox with large K & N air filter
    Anodised main spars, all aluminium parts Alodined and all components are primed for corrosion protection Oil cooler and radiator for hot and cold operation
    Front gear, engine mount and pedals made from 4130 steel In line oil thermostat
    Robust main gear from uni and biax glass fibre & aircraft grade epoxy Standard with 2 electric fuel pumps
    Robust coil spring with needle roller bearings on front gear Airmaster 3 blade constant speed composite propellor with nickel leading edge
    172 Litre (45.4 US gal) wet fuel tanks in wings  Polished aluminium prop spinner
    Large electrically operated slotted flaps Composite wingtips, wing and tail fairings, nose fairing, instrument panel top, 
    Ailerons and elevator use pushrod controls with bearings MGL Odyssey multifunction EFIS which also displays:
    All control surfaces swivel on ball bearings EGT, CHT, oil temp, oil press, rpm, fuel level, fuel press, fuel flow, manifold press,
    Inspection hatches at all junctions and inspection points 3 1/8" backup instruments - ASI, altimeter, slip indicator, standard panel mount compass
    Full dual controls - sticks, pedals, throttle and brakes MGL V6 VHF radio / intercom with Rami 10V VHF antenna
    Matco axles, wheels and powerful hydraulic disc brakes with park brake Mode C transponder with rod antenna
    5" front wheel and 6" main wheels with 6 ply aviation tyres all round Full 2 axis MGL auto pilot
    Composite wheel spats on all 3 wheels Cast aluminium unheated pitot tube with angle of attack
    1115 mm (44") wide cockpit  Internal red LED cabin light
    Fixed windscreen, roll-over protection bar and lockable gullwing doors  Glove / map box in instrument panel
    Electrically operated elevator trim tab Landing / taxi lights (double LED) in both wings
    RAC stick grip with ptt button on RH seat stick Triple Nav / strobe lights on wingtips and tail
    RAC stick grip with PTT, elevator trim and flap buttons on LH seat stick Locking fuel caps
    Circuit breakers in the instrument panel Andair fuel selector valve (selection - left, right, off)
    Adjustable front seats - both base and back Painted single colour on the outside and grey interior
    Adjustable pedals Halon fire extinguisher
    Leather upholstery (seats, map pockets and stick boots) and leatherette interior side panels First aid kit with emergency signal strips
    Centre console with padded armrest and small storage hatch Interior sunshields
    Large 0.15 m³ (8 ft³) baggage compartment  Lightweight canopy cover
    Ballistic parachute fitted as standard  Plugs and covers for intakes and pitot tube
    Cabin heater Fuel tester
    Log books, pilot operators and maintenance manuals Engine tool kit
    Registered and with flight authorization or with the necessary paperwork for export orders  Test flown, trimmed and instruments calibrated
  • Optional Upgrade Items

    Carbon fibre look on panel and centre console Aveo triple LED strobe and nav light system with lifetime warrantee
    Aviation start keyed switch - master|left|right|both|start Vacuum pump system with gauge and regulator
    Special colour paint scheme per extra colour Artificial Horizon gyro vacuum gauge
    Special complex stripes on fuselage, wings or spats Artificial Horizon gyro electric gauge
    Dual toe hydraulic brakes instead of hand operated brake Direction Indicator gyro gauge
    Xenon landing light (single) instead of standard Halogen (price for each one) Turn Coordinator Indicator electric gauge
    Garmin SL30 NAV COM with AV 12L antenna (instead of MGL V6) Night lights on "6 pack" analogue instruments with dimmer
    Garmin SL40 radio and intercom with 10V VHFantenna (instead of MGL V6) Course Deviation Indicator gauge
    PM 1000 II Intercom with VOX and music input Zaon Collision Avoidance PCAS XRX installed
    Ameriking ELT (Emergency Locator Transmitter) Elevator trim on both sticks (full dual operation)
    A second MGL Odyssey EFIS with own SP6 & 7, backup battery (no analogue gauges) FT-6- Red Block Fuel Flow Transducer (instead of the standard flow sender)
    A second Odyssey EFIS with own SP6 & 7, backup battery (keeping analogue gauges) Arrange CAA test flights and approvals for flight school training Authority to Fly
    VSI 0 - 2,000 ft/min  
 
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Kit Information

  • Kit builders do not only receive support from the friendly staff at The Airplane Factory, but you also have support through the extensive kit building manual supplied with your kit and our Kit Build Channel on YouTube, supplying you with informative videos which assist in building your Sling kit.

    View the video channel by clicking here »

  • Kits Available

    Empennage Kit:
    Kit for construction of complete horizontal and vertical stabilisers, rudder and elevators, hinges, control connectors, trim tab, composite tips.
    Wing Kit:
    Kit for construction of complete set of wings, including already assembled main spars, flaps, ailerons, hinges, bellcranks, fuel tanks, pitot mount brackets, composite wing tips.
    Fuselage Kit:
    Kit for construction of complete forward, mid and rear fuselage, including fully assembled centre spar, rear spar, seats, all control mechanisms (throttle, brake, stick, pedals etc), firewall, engine mount attached to firewall.
    Undercarriage Kit:
    Complete undercarriage kit including main and front gear, main gear mount bolts, front spring & related parts, wheels, tyres, tubes, axles, bearings, hydraulic brake system.
    Canopy Kit:
    Complete canopy kit including front and main canopy frames, front windscreen, main canopy, closing panels, basic over centre catch, sealant
    Instrument Panel Kit:
    Top instrument panel cowl with all mounting hardware, adjustable air vents, instrument panel face cut to suit customer requirements
    Final assembly / hardware / finishing Kit:
    Kit includes everything required to effect final assembly of aircraft, including nose cowling, all composite closing fairings, pushrod assemblies, related rivets and hardware
  • Extras

    Kit packed in separate cardboard & plywood boxes - required for freighting
    ROTAX 915 iS 142 hp turbo engine
    Rotax 914 UL Firewall Forward Kit
    Fuel system
    Propellor - Airmaster constant speed
    MGL EFIS system complete plus backup analogue flight instruments
    MGL V6 radio, Trig transponder, hannesses & antennas
    Auto Pilot system
    Electrics.
    Landing lights & strobes
    Airframe components, wheel spats etc.
    Leather upholstery, carpets etc
    Parachute system
    Extras, first aid kit, fire extinguisher, covers etc.
    Documentation, fees & inspections
    Paint (estimate)
    Suggested minimum tools

    Optional

     

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Media

Welcome to the press room for The Airplane Factory's Sling 4 light sports aircraft. You will find a list of website and magazine articles related to our aircraft model, photos, videos and any FREE screensaver images. Please check back regularly as we will update this page as new material becomes available.

 

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Quotes & Ordering

  • Making A Quote / Order Request

    Making a quote or order request is as easy as 1-2-3!

    1. Choose which type of Sling 4 you would like to buy:
      • If you are interested in a Ready To Fly aircraft, pre-built at one of our factories, click on the Ready To Fly Pricing option under the Sling 4 model picture to the left.Financing is available for our Ready to Fly factory built aircraft. Should you require any information regarding financing please contact Andrew on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
      • If you would like to start with a kit, click on Kits and Pricing to the left under the Sling 4 model picture.

    2. Select the items you would like to include in your order or quotation request as well as any optional extras you would like.
      Once finished, click on the 'Provide me with an official quote/invoice request' at the bottom.

    3. Fill in your contact details and necessary information and 'Submit' this info to our Sales Team
  • Terms & Conditions

    These standard terms and conditions of sale shall, in the absence of a written and signed agreement to the contrary, govern the sale of all products and/or services by The Airplane Factory to any person.

    1. Quotes are valid for a period of 30 days after signature on behalf of The Airplane Factory.
    2. A quote constitutes an offer of sale by the Airplane Factory to the customer on The Airplane Factory’s standard terms and conditions set out in this document.
    3. A quote signed by the Customer and delivered to The Airplane Factory constitutes a binding agreement of sale between the parties on The Airplane Factory’s standard terms and conditions.
    4. By signing a quote the Customer confirms that he/she has read and understands the terms applicable to the order and considers him/herself/the Customer bound by them.
    5. The address used by the Customer on a signed order form, and The Airplane Factory address appearing on such form, shall constitute the domicilium citandi et executandi address at which the parties shall be entitled to serve all documents and notices upon one another.
    6. Prices are subject to change without notice, but are fixed on the day of an order.
    7. Payment for aircraft shall be made as follows – a 30% deposit with order, 30% at power plant installation and outstanding balance immediately prior to delivery.
    8. Payment for kits shall be made as follows – a 30% deposit with order and the outstanding balance immediately prior to delivery.
    9. Order changes requested by the Customer may incur delays and/or changes in price.
    10. Should a Customer cancel an order, 10% of the order will be retained by The Airplane Factory towards costs incurred.
    11. Orders may be transferred from one customer to another.
    12. Prices are ex-works The Airplane Factory premises, South Africa.
    13. Any freight charges will be quoted separately and must be paid prior to shipping.
    14. Production position for aircraft and parts thereof will be assigned upon receipt of order and payment of the applicable deposit.
    15. Storage/hangerage fees are chargeable if collection is delayed by more than 1 week.
    16. All outstanding sums owing by a Customer to The Airplane Factory shall attract interest at the prime rate of interest quoted from time by the Standard Bank of South Africa Limited.
    17. If a Customer should fail to make due payment to The Airplane Factory of any sum, and persist in failing to make such payment within 2 weeks of demand by The Airplane Factory, The Airplane Factory shall be entitled, without prejudice to any other entitlements which it may otherwise enjoy, to cancel the Customer’s order and proceed on the same basis as if the order had been cancelled by the customer.
    18. Products and services supplied by The Airplane Factory are sold subject to the standard Airplane Factory waiver and release of liability which appears immediately below this these standard terms and conditions of sale. The waiver and release of liability is incorporated into and forms part of these terms and conditions of sale by incorporation.
  • Release from liability

    1. All customers of The Airplane Factory ("Customers") release The Airplane Factory from all and any liability for loss, harm or damage which they or others may suffer pursuant to their purchase of goods or services from The Airplane Factory. This release from liability ("the Release") shall include all of the terms set out below.
    2. The Customer understands and acknowledges that this Release applies to the purchase of any goods and/or services from The Airplane Factory, the manufacture or servicing of any aircraft pursuant to the purchase of any such goods and/or services, and the operation of any aircraft purchased, serviced or manufactured pursuant to the purchase of such goods or services.
    3. The Customer understands that such operations may be dangerous and may result in injury, including death, and the Customer assumes such risk.
    4. In consideration of The Airplane Factory supplying the Customer with the goods and/or services supplied, the Customer voluntarily releases, discharges, waives and relinquishes any and all actions or causes of action for personal injury, property damage or wrongful death occurring to him/herself arising as a result of the supply of the said goods and/or services to him/her, or any activity engaged in pursuant thereto, including without limitation the manufacture or operation of any kit aircraft. The Customer also, for him/herself, his/her heirs, next of kin, personal representatives, executors, administrators, successors, agents, assigns and insurers, releases, waives discharges and relinquishes any action or causes of action which may hereafter arise for him/herself and/or for his/her estate, and agrees that under no circumstance will he/she and/or his/her heirs prosecute, or present any claim for personal injury, property damage or wrongful death against The Airplane Factory, its officers, agents, employees so arising, and, insofar as any claim may so arise, indemnifies The Airplane Factory in respect of such claim.
    5. This Release shall be governed in accordance with the laws of South Africa and any proceedings arising out of or in relation to this Release shall be determined by The High Court of South Africa.
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Features

The Sling was designed with the aim of creating the most practical and desirable light sport aircraft available.

sling tsi front

Some of the characteristics which make the Sling range unique:

The Sling's flying characteristics make for a perfectly coordinated, highly responsive control setup. This gives her the distinct qualities of a fighter jet aircraft, while not being overly sensitive.

The Sling's performance matches and outdoes almost every aircraft in its class, while being highly economical and fun to fly.

Its aluminum construction makes for ease and consistency of construction, while offering proven strength and a longer lifespan than some of our composite rivals.

The Sling's airframe strength and durability means that she won’t break easily and, if you treat her right, she’ll last you for the rest of your life

Her excellent instrumentation options make for a very unique, state-of-the-art flying experience, at a fraction of the cost of our certified competitors.

The wide cockpit, excellent all around view and substantial luggage capacity make the Sling a very comfortable, yet versatile aircraft.

The incorporation, by design, of a ballistic parachute, makes the Sling an exceptionally safe aircraft to fly.

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13 July 2011 to 21 June 2011

Wednesday, 13 July 2011 15h00 - Moving on

The all-nighters have started as D-day for Sling 4 ATW approaches at the speed of light. Although the prototype ATW Sling 4 won't be making an appearance at Virginia, the Sling 4 launch at 10h00 on Tuesday 19 July is a fixed date and she'll leave for Oshkosh the next day or as soon thereafter as she's ready. (There will, nevertheless, be a number of other standard Slings on show at Virginia).

Meanwhile, work at The Airplane Factory is reaching a crescendo. Yesterday Jean and Ruan put in a marathon session, each working for 31 continuous hours. The fuselage team worked until after midnight last night, but had the satisfaction of seeing the fuselage from firewall to tail in one continuous piece. They're back on the job today with the objective of getting her on her undercarriage with the engine on by tomorrow morning. Ryall's working non-stop on the Perspex for the canopy and the wing team is just surveying its work before beginning to polish them up for final fitment.

Probably the most eloquent expression of where we are right now is some photographs all, save for the shot of Jean and Ruan at the commencement of a 15 hour non-stop laminating session which was taken at about 22h00 last night all of the shots below were taken an hour ago at 13h00 today, Wednesday 13 July 2011.

Meanwhile, on the side, ZU-FNM, our Cape Town agent, Mark Bunning's Sling, will fly later today under a proving flight authority and ZU-FNN, David Jang's Sling has an authority to fly and is ready for delivery.

Til next time - The Airplane Factory Team

gallery}sling4world2011-20110713{/gallery}

Sunday, 10 July 2011 Work continues late into each night

It's been a long and late weekend, especially for Jean and the composites team. But first things first - Thanks to Chalkie for volunteering the use of his and Peter Hengst's immersion suits from their 2003 Oshkosh centenary flight for our trip. It hadn't been hours since a friend had sent through a record of water temperatures in the Bering straits and only minutes since we'd discussed taping up our sleeves and trouser legs in the absence of a better solution, when Chalkie's email arrived. So we've taken up the offer and the suits will get a second chance to do some ocean crossings, hopefully once again without getting to see any water!

Meanwhile things are moving along slowly at the factory. For me, more the paperwork man, the pace on the construction of the plane seems painfully slow. The wings still need the standard leading edge tanks installed, work on the centre fuselage was only commenced this morning (Sunday 10 July) and the panel still looks mostly like a bird's nest of wires! But Jean, Ryall, Ruan, Joseph, Brends and Florence in composites have been working serious hours. The blanks for pulling the canopy perspex over are dry and merely need to be annealed before use and the two main door frames are laid up and ready for finishing. Tomorrow a marathon session on the main canopy frame in which the doors will be housed. Mike assures me that tomorrow, with the full factory workforce available, things will suddenly begin to move more quickly. I promise to report further on that tomorrow.

Our objective remains to fly the ATW plane on Thursday or Friday this week and depart Wednesday or Thursday next week. That will always, however, be subject to safety considerations.

Meanwhile, the Airplane Factory features on Carte Blanche tonight, so if you have a TV (I don't) get before it to watch the action.

gallery}sling4world2011-20110710{/gallery}

Monday, 4 July 2011 Work on the canopy progresses, Director of Civil Aviation to launch Sling 4 on Tuesday 19 July and around the world departure delayed to 20 July 2011

Since last Friday the canopy blank has been fully prepared, two female canopy moulds cast, two foam canopy door frame cores routed, numerous centre fuselage components drawn, punched out and bent and re-assembly of the wings has commenced following tank seal testing.

While good progress is being made across the board, all substantial projects require both blind faith (to get them started and keep them moving) and also application of dispassionate decision making (to ensure they succeed rather than ending in catastrophe). While it was out plan to depart for the US from the Virginia Airshow in Durban on 16 July, we now believe that it's too soon and we've decided to delay until Wednesday 20 July. With only 5 legs all the way to Oshkosh Mike and Jean still plan to arrive there on 27 July, but of course it is going to mean quite serious hours of flying. And notwithstanding that, if all goes according to plan the Sling 4 will still appear at the Virginia show en route one of its proving flights.

The route to the US is now as follows - Tedderfield to Pilanesberg to clear customs and then direct to Pointe Noire. That's a 15.5 hour flight. Then the flight to Dakar is a long one, 4 200km around the coast (to avoid politics) which, due to a massive fuel load, will take 24 hours flying. The three remaining legs, to the Azores, New Foundland and Oshkosh come in at only 15 hours each, so that shouldn't prove too much of a problem. A substantial benefit of the route is that it has only 4 stops en route. Our previous travels in the Sling have demonstrated again and again that the flying is easy and relaxing, it's the stopping that's time consuming, stressful and frustrating. So few, long legs really is the way to go. It also costs less because one doesn't have to pay landing and approach fees as often, one sleeps in the plane, not in a hotel room and so on. Hhhmmm, anyhow, that's still quite far away yet!

Meanwhile, the launch of the Sling 4 by the Director of Civil Aviation has also been delayed until 10h00 on Tuesday 19 July, the day before we leave. Please any interested parties feel free to attend. Finally, see below the most recent rendering of what the Sling 4 will look like when completed.

gallery}sling4world2011-20110704{/gallery}

Saturday, 2 July 2011 The fuel tanks are sealed and the focus shifts to the canopy and centre fuselage.

The behind the spar and both leading edge fuel tanks in each wing of the Sling 4 have been pressure tested and there are no leaks. They will therefore be finally assembled into the wings over the next few days.

Meanwhile, the greatest single challenge facing the team is the development of the canopy in the tight time constraints facing the project. Far more complex than the standard 2 seater sliding canopy, the 4 seater canopy comprises 5 sections with mid-located gullwing doors which are visible, opened, in the undercarriage-less photograph some entries down. This design will give additional rigidity to the entire airframe structure. The canopy frame, however, which is to be constructed from carbon fibre and glass fibre with epoxy resin, is a complex structure will take some time to prepare. Luckily for The Airplane Factory Manfred Springer, who lives on the airfield, has a 6 by 3 m 3D routing machine and has prepared a blank of the canopy from which a female can be cast. Jean is working on the problem day and night and will be doing everything necessary to ensure that by the end of this coming week a fully functional (and knowing Jean, probably also beautiful), canopy arrangement is available).

Simultaneously Terry is on the final straight with the small brackets and other finishing elements of the centre fuselage on Solid Works. Most of the remaining centre fuselage parts will be punched out tomorrow (Saturday) and construction on the centre fuselage will commence in earnest on Sunday/Monday. Although the control arrangements are slightly different in the Sling 4 and the additional seats and changed wing placements require some changes, conceptually the Sling 4 centre fuselage arrangements are materially the same as on the Sling 4. Three months ago 10 people, 5 of whom had absolutely no mechanical experience, built a Sling in 7 days. (For a teaser on that see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yShaGeKPGyo). Now, with an entire factory full of experienced aircraft assemblers, the Sling 4 (sans canopy anyhow) should be a cinch to complete in 6 days. Of course unlike with the 7 days aircraft, the rear fuselage and wings are already almost complete!

More news will follow after the weekend. For those doubters, however, The Airplane Factory's confidence that the aircraft will be completed by next weekend is demonstrated by the fact that the Director for Civil Aviation in South Africa, Mr Thwala, has agreed to launch the prototype at 10h00 on Monday morning, 11 July, 9 days hence. We are honoured to host Mr Thwala and we also invite those who are interested in seeing ZU-TAF completed to attend the gathering. We promise a full tour of the factory to those who are interested.

Until next week, sala kahle.

gallery}sling4world2011-20110702{/gallery}

Monday, 27 June 2011 Construction continues on the prototype Sling 4 while plans develop

During the last two weeks there have been a number of changes around The Airplane Factory. While construction of Slings and Sling kits continues apace, a slightly different beast is taking shape in the northern quarter of hangar 7, directly under the watchful eyes of the company directors. Good progress is at last being made on the Sling 4. As appears from the photographs below, the lower half of the rear fuselage has already been riveted and the slight change from the standard Sling in the shape of the upper half is in evidence. The main and rear spars of each wing are loosely in place, and all 6 of the fuel tanks, which will give the aircraft an endurance of 24 hours when filled, have been sealed and are busy drying. Last night Jean and Chris Pietersen worked until 11pm in the cold hangar in order to achieve that.

Meanwhile, Gareth Bosch is working hard on planning the wiring system for the aircraft, which this time around will use a Vertical Power VP-X Sport electronic circuit breaker mechanism which is reputed to be highly reliable, easily configurable and provide excellent electrical system reporting. This will be the first Sling with the VP-X system. More generally the instrument panel layout has been settled and will be panel itself will be laser cut within the next few days. It contains two very sexy G2 MGL Odyssey EFIS instruments, a Garmin SL30 navcom radio, a Trig mode S transponder and the controller for the Airmaster AP320 constant speed propeller. Not much else is required. This time there will be no stormscope, although a Zaon PCAS traffic collision avoidance system will be plugged into and display on the MGL Odysseys. See the computer generated panel below.

Finally, time constraints have led to late night discussion on the most appropriate routing for the trip. Although the plan has, until yesterday, been to travel east to Oshkosh, and head back still going east, that requires 10 legs of which at least 3 are of more than 18 hours flying time and another 3 more than 14. Plus, travelling east the days are effectively shorter and, when tired, "tomorrow morning" comes quicker!

The flight from Johannesburg to Oshkosh going west, by comparison, has only 6 legs, all of which are less than 15 hours, and of course the days are effectively longer. So, right now it looks like it would be wise to reverse the planned direction so as to guarantee an arrival in Oshkosh before the show ends. Of course there'll still be a great deal pressure on Mike and Jean to get there around 26 July, but at least it's more likely to prove theoretically possible at first take off, without exceeding the speed of light. More about that later. See the map of the route below or work out the distances for yourself on Google Earth using the file in the link.

Download Sling 4 Trip Click here to download the Google Earth Sling 4 Around The World Trip .kmz file

gallery}sling4world2011-20110627{/gallery}

Tuesday, 21 June 2011 Construction commences on the prototype Sling 4

When the production prototype Sling , ZU-TAF was flown around the world during 2009 at take-off and landing she was loaded to 965kg, some 365kg above the maximum all up weight applicable to the light sport aircraft category for which she was designed. Yet she proved herself again and again, performing consistently well at that weight with only a 100hp Rotax 912 ULS engine.

The Sling 4, a light 4 seater variation of the standard Sling, will have an empty weight approximately 50kg heavier than the standard 2 seater Sling. With a maximum all up weight of 850kg it will have a useful load in the vicinity of 400kg, making it a respectable light 4 seater aircraft. With a 115hp turbo charged Rotax 914 UL engine, a constant speed propeller, a fuselage lengthened by some 550mm and standard Sling wings extended by 400mm each at the root, she should perform as well as the standard Sling.

In fact, so confident are we that we intend to fly our prototype Sling 4 to EAA Airventure Oshkosh, leaving within a week of her first flight, and return to Johannesburg by again circumnavigating the globe. Construction of the prototype Sling 4 commenced today and we intend to keep the public updated as the build progresses, particularly towards the end. Although the initial plan was for all 3 shareholders in the business (Mike, James and Jean) to complete the circumnavigation, production and management commitments at the factory are such that it's impractical to take all 3 directors out of circulation for the full 4 week period of the flight. Instead Mike and Jean will be flying to Oshkosh, going west this time, and James and Jean will be returning. From Oshkosh back to SA there will also be a third pilot in the aircraft, the identity of whom is yet to be finalized, although at present if looks like our weather expert from the 2009 trip, Tim Parsonson, also a qualified pilot.

For a taste of what the Sling 4 will look like take a look at the computer generated renderings below created by our head draftsman, Ruan Coetzee. For the precise planned routing for the circumnavigation download the Google Earth file called "Sling 4 ATW" and take a look.

More next Monday!

gallery}sling4world2011-20110621{/gallery}

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