• Shanelle McKechnie

The TAF Sling 2 Taildragger


Approximately five years ago, two Qantas captains, Peter Calley and Des Howson, arrived at our factory in Johannesburg intent on purchasing Sling Kits. While Peter purchased a Sling 4 Kit, Des purchased a Sling 2 Taildragger kit. Which would have been only the fourth Sling 2 Taildragger, The prototype was built some years before and was later sold to current owner in Namibia, the second is in the USA.

The prototype Sling 2 Taildragger

Both Peter and Des fly the route from Sydney to Johannesburg on a regular basis. This results in a two day stopover in Johannesburg at least once every two weeks. During this stopover, they have always paid a visit to the factory.

About 18 months ago, we began the build of a Sling 2 Taildragger here at the factory for a flying school in Australia situated on the Gold Coast. The order was later changed to a Sling LSA which meant the already completed Taildragger airframe would sit in storage for a year and a half. Although this was fully built, it did not yet comprise of an engine or avionics.

Eventually, a few weeks ago, our Marketing Manager shared a video via our social media platforms of Mike and James flying our Taildragger through Namibia.

Des eventually came to view the video and upon seeing the Sling Taildragger being flown through the Namib Desert, felt such guilt at having taken this long to build his own Taildragger, contacted the factory and purchased an additional Sling 2 Taildragger that we would assemble on his behalf. He could at least then fly it in the meantime whilst still building his own kit. Des however, did not want his colleague, Peter Calley, knowing that he had purchased an additional Sling that we had actually built and so we had to masquerade that the airplane instead belonged to another client.

That being said, over the past five years, throughout each visit to the factory, these two Quantas captains have always bought us an abundance of famous Australian biscuits by the name of Tim-Tams. It was therefore fitting that the pseudonym of Des Howson came to be "Captain Tim-Tam." At some point throughout the build, Peter Calley came to hear of Captain Tim-Tam and during a visit to the factory enquired as to who he was.

Andrew provided a fictitious story about how we had recently obtained a new Australian customer whose actual name we were unaware of and that we had decided to allocate him a random Australian name instead to which we found Tim-Tam hilarious. Peter bought the entire story. It was only later on that Des Howson eventually broke the news that this had been a rogue and that the airplane had actually been built for him.

General characteristics

Crew: One pilot

Capacity: One passenger

Length: 6.68 meters

Wingspan: 9.17 meters

Height: 2.62 meters

Wing area: 11.85 sq metres

Empty weight: 360 kg

Useful load: 240 kg

Loaded weight: 600 kg

Max. takeoff weight: 600 kg

Fuel Capacity: 150 liters

Baggage Capacity: 35 kg

Powerplant: 1 × Rotax 912ULS, 100 hp (73 kW)

Propeller diameter: Ground Adjustable 178 cm Warp-Drive 3 blade

Performance

Never exceed speed: 135 knots (155 mph)

Maximum speed: 120 knots (138 mph)

Cruise speed: 110 knots (126 mph)

Stall speed: 45 knots (52 mph)

Range: 800+ nm (1500+ km)

Service ceiling: 12,000 feet

Rate of climb: 900 ft/min

Avionics

Garmin G3X Touch EFIS

Garmin G5

Garmin GME307 Auto Pilot


1,373 views

1/19