It’s been just over three months since I wrote to you last, and I see I closed my last newsletter by saying “I’ll see you on the other side!” Little did I know that I would be writing to you again on day 128 of the most draconian Covid-19 lockdown the world has seen. I can almost see some of you wincing at the thought of no flying for 128 days... Hold your grumbles please, because we have been 128 days with no booze or cigarettes in South Africa! Yes, that’s right. In South Africa, our infinitely wise supreme leader decided that not only can we not be trusted to wear our masks in public and wash our hands regularly, but we can’t be trusted to have a cold beer after a hard day’s plane building either. Unacceptable I say and enough to convince me to never speak of this lockdown again.
So, what has been happening at Sling Aircraft while the rest of the world hunkers down? Well to start with, cancelling Oshkosh meant we no longer had a hard deadline to work to in terms of getting the High Wings ready for the transatlantic flight to Wittman Regional in Wisconsin. A disappointment for Mike and James of course, but a great opportunity for Sling to take stock, re-group and re-focus our attention on pressing matters. The High Wing prototypes were put on hold as we worked out what we could best focus our attention on, with 70% of our team confined to their homes and unable to contribute.
The engineering office set about updating packing lists and correcting and improving construction manuals, while simultaneously creating new construction manuals for the Sling TSi. Full colour exploded views of each part and assembly lend themselves to a much more intuitive and user-friendly build process. The empennage and wing manuals are already available to the public and the new fuselage manual will be released by the end of September I'm told. New and improved packing lists are now also being used by the kit packing department which WILL mean perfect kits going forwards.
Surprisingly, sales continued to fly in from all over the world, especially from the UK, Australia and the USA but also from New Zealand, Saudi Arabia and Argentina. Since the start of April, we have sold 38 new Slings with another four sales coming in this week. So, although the world economy has taken a hit, it would appear that people are still following their dreams of learning to fly or even better owning their own flying machines. Long may these ideas live!
Our production capacity and capability has been significantly improved with the recent appointment of a new production manager. Our very own James Pitman has taken over the job and over the last three months has managed to reduce the waiting time on Sling manufactured parts to less than 48 hours. This is of huge benefit to both our production capability here in Joburg and also to our kit builders around the world who have sometimes had to wait unacceptable amounts of time for missing or incorrect parts to be sent to them during their build. Thank you for your patience to those of you who have been delayed due to this. I believe this inconvenience will now be a thing of the past.
What is next at Sling? Well, work on the High Wing prototypes has resumed and there is once again a dedicated team of technicians working on them. Load testing on the centre/rear fuselage connection point happened late last week without event, and the fuselage on the test unit now has a tailplane sticking proudly out its backside. The plan is that by the end of October, hopefully just before I write to you again, we will have completed our maiden test flights in the tricycle gear version.
So with that said, as always your support is much appreciated as we continue to strive to be the world’s most loved and respected aircraft manufacturer as a consequence of the outstanding qualities of our people, products and ideas.
Cheers for now!
An Adventure Pilot's Wishlist...
Made for performance. Built with precision. Are we talking about our Sling High Wing Taildragger or Tricycle? How about BOTH! The Sling High Wing will check every box on an adventure pilot’s wish list: Remarkable performance, generous useful load, speed and cross-country range.
Enveloped in comfort and convenience, the pilot experience at the controls will be intuitive and satisfying. Cockpit ergonomics have been thoughtfully executed while control inputs will provide a smooth feel and superb control harmony. To take full advantage of aerodynamic improvements, the Sling High Wing will be fitted with an Airmaster 3 Blade Constant Speed propeller. These variable-pitch propellers automatically change their blade pitch in order to maintain a chosen rotational speed. This operation perfectly suits modern engines, particularly the turbo sport injected variety.
Powered by a 141 hp turbo sport injected Rotax 915 iS with a cruise speed of 145 KTAS, the Sling High Wing is expected to re-define the performance envelope for this family of aircraft. Continue the journey with us for more on the Sling High Wing development!
What It Takes To Become A Pilot With Sling Pilot Academy
We recently launched our Sling NGT (Next Generation Trainer) that has been racking up hours at the Sling Pilot Academy. The Sling NGT has a two-place low-wing airframe with a bubble canopy. It is powered by a Rotax 912 iS powerplant with full authority digital engine control, cruises at 120 knots and can climb at nearly 600 feet per minute. This aircraft is meant to be a modern trainer for aspiring airline pilots and offers an economical fuel burn of less than 4 gallons per hour
YouTube vlogger, Sam Chui, recently became a student with the Sling Pilot Academy, a decision he says, he will never look back on. "I started my love of aviation as a planespotter, photographer and then as a passenger. The next step was to become a pilot to advance further in aviation. Flight training involves a lot of challenges but it is totally worth it. There is never this much satisfaction when you make your first unassisted landing. You forget all your troubles on the ground because flying takes up all of your attention and skillsets. There was never a dull moment during my first flight training. So far I have flown 18 hours and I will be sharing my progress throughout every phase of my PPL training."
You too can join your fellow aviators by simply signing up with Sling Pilot Academy. Enrol today and of course, catch Sam Chui as he talks us through what it takes to become a pilot!
Lockdown Presents An Airplane Graveyard
Flying Over Thousands of Parked Airplanes And Cruise Ships
YouTube vlogger, Sam Chui, recently flew over thousands of grounded and stored airplanes in Victorville, Mojave and San Bernadino at the Southern California Airplane Graveyard on a Sling TSi with Sling Pilot Academy during the lockdown.
The aircraft storage scenes were unprecedented with many airplanes grounded in Victorville, Mojaveand San Bernardino airport. The same parking scenes occurred at LA Harbor where many cruise ships had been docked.
Our Sling TSi flew in formation with a Sling NGT and twin-engine Tecnam P2006T at which time, Sam met up with his photoship Cessna 172 in mid-air for an epic photo-shoot over those blooming desert flowers! Feel free to enjoy this phenomenal video footage!