By Garth Calitz Photos by Andre Venter and Louisa Barnard
On Saturday 3 July aviators and enthusiasts were invited to Tedderfield Airpark where James Pitman revealed the plans for the latest adventure by the daring Sling Aircraft team. A team of three Sling High Wing aircraft will be flying from Johannesburg to The USA in time for the great Oshkosh Airventure.
As always the Sling team superbly catered for all the visitor's needs with a wonderful breakfast being served on the paved area between the two main hangars. Many of the visitors decided this would be a perfect stop over for a quick “brekkie” on the way home from the Taildraggers Fly-in which was held in Warmbaths.
The schedule for this adventure was starting to get tight as the Taildragger Sling High Wing, owned and built by JP “The Candourist” Schulze, was still not 100% complete work on this aircraft conditioned as everyone enjoyed the morning.
The Oshkosh community has now been waiting three years for the beauty of the Sling High Wing to grace its skies and exhibition spaces. This year, IT IS GOING TO HAPPEN with the expected departure date, Sunday, July 10th!
As we have grown accustomed to over the last 14 years, Sling Aircraft never do anything in half measures. They will be flying no less than three Sling High wings to Oshkosh.
James Pitman and his good friend Matt Cohen will be flying the factory ‘Development Prototype’ Sling High Wing, which will be modified for hand-only control flying as Matt is a paraplegic and confined to a wheelchair.
Linda Sollars will be joined by Mike Blyth in her newly completed Sling High Wing, this is a very special aircraft as it is the first Sling High Wing delivered to a customer, in kit form, and was assembled by Linda with help from her husband at Tedderfield.
Namibian national JP Schulze, “The Candourist” will be joined by good friend and film-maker William. The aircraft that they will be flying is the first Sling High Wing Taildragger delivered to a customer, again in kit form. JP assembled in the Sling Cycles workshop which is also based at Tedderfield.
The route they plan to follow will take them from Tedderfield to Lanseria to clear customs and then off to Luanda in Angola, the first leg is 1321nm.
The second leg will see them cross the Gulf of Guinea to Accra in Ghana another fairly long leg at 1170nm
Leg three will take the trio around the bulged of Africa, avoiding overfly clearances to Cape Verde 1486nm
Leg four is where things get real very quickly a 2101nm flight across the Atlantic to beautiful Barbados, must be the most dangerous leg of all.
The leg from Barbados to the Turk and Caicos Islands is much shorter 898nm but absolutely beautiful, on this leg, they will pass over Puerto Rico.
The next leg will see them finally arriving in the USA, At Treasure Coast, Fort Pierce in Florida this leg is one of the shortest at only 559nm. Linda will pay a quick visit to her home field, Bowman Field in Kentucky. This will be a shorter leg at just short of 700nm.
Linda will pay a quick visit to her home field, Bowman Field in Kentucky. This will be a shorter leg at just short of 700nm.
The Final leg will sound the arrival of the trio at the Greatest Aviation Adventure on Earth, Oshkosh, where they will spend a week or so. James and Mike have hinted at a possible extension but have not divulged any detail as yet but knowing them it will be something really exciting.
The teams invite everyone to follow their trip by tracking their progress as they go – each aircraft will have an IndigoDUO Hybrid Satellite Tracking and Messaging Device from IndigoSat, which will plot onto a world map live, and which will be found on the Sling High Wings Expedition Page once installed, tested and live!
We wish all six off you the best on this epic journey and please continue to carry South African Aviation's name high throughout the world.