Sling 4 Completes Circumnavigation of Earth
Courtesy: The Airplane Factory
October 6, 2011 – The Sling 4 experimental production four-seat prototype produced by the Airplane Factory left South Africa in early August and flew 26, 414 miles around the world in nearly 222 hours, arriving back in South Africa on September 24. The course remained mostly in the Southern Hemisphere but allowed testing the aircraft in many different climates including oceans and jungles. The eventual production model will weigh approximately 1,500 pounds and feature a longer fuselage, larger wings, 115-hp turbo-charged Rotax 914 UL engine, and a Warp Drive constant-speed propeller to reach altitudes of 15,000 feet.
Mike Blyth, James Pitman, and Jean d’Assonville were the pilots for the Sling 4 Around the World Expedition. James and Jean flew the first half from Johannesburg, South Africa, to Los Angeles, California. Then, Mike Blyth took James’ spot and Mike and Jean flew the remaining distance back to South Africa. Their longest leg was from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, straight across the South Atlantic to Cape Town, South Africa - a distance of 3,866 miles and 27 hours’ flight time.
Special modifications for the journey included a 118-gallon fuel tank (standard tanks are 40 gallons), two MGL Voyager EFIS displays, TCAS, and a satellite tracking system. The aircraft performed without incident during the journey and the next step is to bring the aircraft to market. The kit version will include engine, ballistic parachute, and all avionics with an estimated price point of $110,000.
The original Sling airframe also made a circumnavigation of the globe during its testing phase in 2009 and visited EAA AirVenture that year.