Howzit Slingers across the globe!
What an exciting couple of months we have had at Sling HQ in South Africa. Mostly, it’s been High Wing, High Wing, High Wing. That’s Linda Sollars,’ JP Schulze’s and our demo (ZU-SHW) being assembled, tested, and used for flying adventures, dinners at Wonderboom Airport and photoshoots set against the autumn Joburg skyline.
It’s been such good fun having Linda and JP here with us building their transatlantic planes. It has reminded me very much of our beginnings 13 years ago, building ZU-TAF, the Production Prototype Sling 2 to fly her around the world, and then again, 10 years ago, building our Prototype Sling 4 to fly her around the world in the opposite direction. There is an energy coursing through the veins of the team at Sling that can only be described as one of eager anticipation and excitement at the task ahead. Building and perfecting three Sling High Wings at once, to be flown across the Atlantic and on around the world, is not for the faint-hearted. Nothing that Mike Blyth and his team can’t handle though. They seem to perform best under a bit of time pressure.
The plan is still to fly three Sling High Wings to Oshkosh, so start looking out for more information on our website and social media platforms for a schedule and route. I’ll no doubt be sending more news before the start of the trip too.
In addition to having Linda and JP with us, we also had Adam and Steve from Midwest Panel Builders here to install Linda’s gorgeous backlit Garmin panel. Also, as mentioned in my last letter, we were very privileged and fortunate to have Paul Dye from Kitplanes magazine out for a week last month checking out both our manufacturing and assembly factories and spending some good time flying each of our planes.
In early April, South African Slingers were treated to an amazing weekend in what is for me one of the most tranquil and beautiful places in the world. The annual Sling Aircraft Fly-Away Weekend was at Tankwa Tented Camp in the Karoo Highlands this year. Also, the home of Africa Burn (the African version of Burning Man), it’s a rocky desert. Desolate, dry, hot, cold and inhospitable. It’s also very remote, which made it the perfect location for Sling to file a NOTAM (check how grown up and responsible we are these days) and get 20 Slings into the circuit at the same time, landing and taking off 15 seconds apart from each other, creating the busiest airport in the world for a 30-minute period. 120 aircraft movements in 30 minutes which is one every 15 seconds! Congratulations I think are in order to all the pilots who took part!
World-famous film director, cameraman, lighting expert, scriptwriter and director of photography, Lloyd Ross, took time from his busy schedule to join us for the weekend and made a fantastic short clip of our adventure. Be sure to watch “The Busiest Runway in the World” clip below, and if you enjoy it, lookout for a “Top Secret” video release next week that will make your year. Lots of aviators and film enthusiasts worldwide have been waiting in anticipation for almost two years now for this film…. Subscribe to our YouTube Channel now to make sure you don’t miss it.
In between all this action, we also had our annual staff Family Day, where 600 of our employee’s family members get to come to Sling HQ for a Saturday and all get to go for a flip in a Sling. 600 flips in one morning made Tedderfield feel like the busiest runway in the world. Once again, we also had our Christmas party at Easter this year due to various Covid lockdowns over December. That’s two years in a row we celebrated Christmas at Easter and it’s starting to feel pretty normal. Who would have thought the new normal would include Christmas at Easter?