Whilst visiting Oshkosh in 2009 we marveled at Van’s red RV-12. Back in Johannesburg in March 2010 I joined 9 aviation enthusiasts in building project initiated by serial RV builder Rudi Greyling. As an engineer I was working side by side with auditors and other diverse professionals, jelling into a team, well taken up with what we were achieving. This labour of love was a tremendous learning exercise. She was completed early 2011 by working one full day over weekends every fortnight. Once completed we were left with a feeling of loss – missing the camaraderie only attained by such intense involvement and seeing a fine specimen evolving. She flies like a dream and some of us have already acquired our Sport pilot’s licenses and are building hours. Van’s support was excellent and time will have to be found to take up another challenge.
The Airplane Factory of South Africa displayed its two-place kit Sling LSA at AirVenture. This is a metal-construction aircraft, with power from a 100-hp Rotax 912ULS engine. Some may recall the Sling from a round-the-world-in-40-days flight the company owners took in it in 2009. The kit version is the same as the SLSA version, with completely harmonized controls and 800+ n.m. range. It can be certified as an ELSA or Experimental/Amateur-Built depending on owner preference. Each kit comes with a full set of instructions and builder’s log. Continue reading "Sling 2 LSA Debuts"
The aircraft that pilots Mike Blyth and James Pitman used to circumnavigate the globe last year, the Airplane Factory Sling, crashed during spin testing off the South African Kwa-Zulu coast on February 13. Both test pilots survived, but the airplane was destroyed.
In view of the aircraft's performance well beyond 1320 pounds, a decision was made to certify the Sling not only in accordance with the ASTM LSA standard, but also to 1543 pounds. This required further flight testing which could be performed at the same time as spin testing, which had not yet been completed. The company arranged for a qualified test pilot, Carlos Garcia-Cabral, and his colleague, Shaun Fraser, to perform spin testing from Virginia Airport in Durban. A progressive spin program was agreed incorporating discretion for the pilot to determine appropriate incremental steps and safety requirements. Continue reading "Sling Prototype Lost in South Africa"