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Airplane Factory (USA), The

The Airplane Factory (TAF) produces the Sling series of world-circling aircraft (literally) and now this fine-flying, all-metal beauty is available in the United States as a Special Light-Sport Aircraft. Here is an LSA to follow.

You have to admire the confidence of The Airplane Factory partners Mike Blyth and James Pittman as they took a fresh design and proceeded to circumnavigate the world during 40 days in 2009. This sounds like a fool's mission until you learn more about the principal designer. Mike had already flown the immense distance from the southern tip of South America up through Central and North America, across the Atlantic, down through Europe, across the Mediterranean, and north to south across Africa to his home base in South Africa. He called the trip "South to South" and even made a highly-watchable video about the experience. And these two incredible voyages are but a couple in his logbook of amazing flights.

Nonetheless, the success came not only from superior piloting skills and daring but from a long time acquiring knowledge of aircraft. Certainly, you get to know your plane very well in hundreds of hours of cross country flying but Mike also learned the intimate aspects of design work. Indeed, Sling was created using the latest computer software in so precise a fashion that taking off on a globe-girdling flight shortly after completing the airplane was a well-calculated risk. It was a challenge, aeronautically and physically, but neither Blyth nor Pittman worried excessively about their heavily-loaded Sling (carrying more than 700 pounds in fuel alone!). They knew it would do the job and they proved their claim in a dramatic fashion. Now, as they say, "You can fly the adventure!"

Maybe the best news about Sling's flight characteristics is that they are not in the least adventurous. The bird may have transported the South Africans around the planet but I found the design to have excellent control harmony (as good as the best I've flown), gentle stalls with ample warning, and great ease of landing. When you lower flaps no big pitch movement occurs though slips also worked well to get to the runway at the target point. Stability throughout the normal range of maneuvers I explored was entirely predictable. You won't find too many in the USA for demo flying in 2012 but two thoughts on that: (1) It's well worth a trip to where ever you'll find a Sling to take a flight; and, (2) the scarcity of Slings won't last long given agreeable pricing and wonderful airborne qualities. To become a Sling owner, better you act sooner than later as I predict growing sales for the boys of The Airplane Factory.

Airplane Factory (USA), The

Web Site:
Address: 3401 Airport Dr. Suite E
City: Torrance, CA 90505 USA
Phone: (310) 721-9190

Links to Aircraft and Articles

Sling    Add to favorites list
  The Airplane Factory -- Sling
You should already know the Sling. The South African design set a new benchmark by coming off design and initial development to take an east-to-west trip around the globe. That showed the confidence of designers Mike Blyth and James Pittman. At Sun 'n Fun 2013, we spoke with reps from The Airplane Factory USA who answered questions about flight characteristics and future plans plus talk about the kit Sling they're assembling. Watch this video to get all the facts.
  SPLOG Ultralights Darken the Sky! ...and More, 09/30/2016
SPLOG begins: WUFI '16 — It's tomorrow in New Zealand. Weird as it seems to write that, the down-under nation is 17 hours ahead of those of us on America's east coast. So, pilots in that nation will lead the parade as ultralights and other open-cockpit aircraft
  SPLOG Flying Sling 4 ... Airman’s Medical Update, 11/26/2015
SPLOG begins: As I've indicated many times in the last couple years, this website seeks to deliver news and video about Light-Sport Aircraft, light kit aircraft, ultralights, and light GA aircraft . The latter refers to four seat (and larger) aircraft created by the
  SPLOG Aircraft of Copperstate 2015 Continued (Part 2), 11/06/2015
SPLOG begins: In this Copperstate Part 2 article we resume the list of aircraft Videoman Dave and I reviewed at the show south of Phoenix, Arizona in Casa Grande. To remind you, this was the 43rd running of this show that invites all sorts of aircraft — and many
  SPLOG Flying a Sling Taildragger in America, 10/13/2015
SPLOG begins: Light-Sport Aircraft comprise an diverse gaggle of some beautiful airplanes. Choices are available in a dizzying array of configurations and variations. In fact, so many selections are available to you (as Special LSA) that I created PlaneFinder 2.0 to
  SPLOG Light-Sport Aircraft … Going the Distance, 09/04/2015
SPLOG begins: Among the critiques some old school pilots employ when trying to marginalize Light-Sport Aircraft is that these aircraft are not suited to flying long distances. I've reported several around the world flights (check this article and here's another ) but
  SPLOG South Africans Arrive Before AirVenture 2015 Opens, 07/19/2015
SPLOG begins: It's almost time ! — The tents are in place. Most of the displays are built. Airplanes are already parked by the thousands in EAA voluminous parking areas. The campground and every hotel room for miles is packed full. While the usual pandemonium
  SPLOG 4 things to See at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2015, 07/16/2015
SPLOG begins: The "Big Show" is just days away, so of course, journalists and readers are asking what will be present? The question is worthwhile, but often the most interesting discoveries are not foretold either to maintain secrecy or due to the last minute scramble
  SPLOG Sling News & Video Maker Paul Hamilton, 06/19/2015
SPLOG begins: When you deliver an airplane to an accomplished video producer you are bound to get some great photos out of the deal. The images with this article show video impresario (and my longtime friend), Paul Hamilton , flying new Sling N288SL around beautiful
  SPLOG Rotax Awards Free 912 Engine to Flight School, 02/08/2015
SPLOG begins: One year ago Rotax announced a contest to award a brand-new 912 engine to the flight school that achieved the first time between overhaul (TBO) of 2,000 hours on a Rotax 912 iS model that the engine builder had just released. Upon reaching the goal, the
  SPLOG LSA Taildraggers Broaden the Sector’s Appeal, 11/07/2014
SPLOG begins: Taildraggers may be among the least understood and most feared aircraft available in the LSA space ... or for that matter throughout general aviation. While we have many good choices that I'll list below, I have nonetheless heard from many readers or
  SPLOG Sling 4-4-40 Flies After Four-Day Build, 09/24/2014
SPLOG begins: A couple days ago I wrote about the Sling 4-4-40 Challenge. I believe this to be of interest for a couple reasons. One is the fast build at an airshow ... much like the intense interest surrounding EAA's One Week Wonder (video) building of a CH-750 at
  SPLOG Open Houses, Airshow-Built Planes, and a Birthday, 09/22/2014
SPLOG begins: Last weekend Zenith Aircraft held another of their open house events. At the Midwest LSA Expo a few weeks beforehand I asked factory pilot guru, Roger Dubbert how many people the company expected. His answer: a rather amazing "700." According to Zenith
  SPLOG LSA Off to Sun ‘n Fun — Excitement Building!, 03/27/2014
SPLOG begins: Super Petrel LS from Edra Aeronautica — As described in our earlier article , Edra Aeronautica was nearly done with their acceptance by FAA to be able to sell their handsome biwing Super Petrel LS in the U.S. as a Special (fully manufactured) Light-Sport
  SPLOG LSA Alive & Well: Slings in Stock; Evektor Sales, 03/17/2014
SPLOG begins: The Great Recession was the pits ... for nearly all industries and most employees or small business owners. That's hardly newsworthy. However, the recovery from the recession — that government economists insist ended years ago — has been a
  SPLOG Slings from Down Under Airplane Factory, 12/26/2013
SPLOG begins: Welcome to summertime ... in December, just after Christmas?!? True, down under in Australia or partway around the southern hemisphere in South Africa, weather patterns are roughly opposite of those in the northern half the globe. While it is presently
  SPLOG Renegade Open House; Phoenix Award; More Videos, 05/14/2013
SPLOG begins: Several Florida airports have been active during the recession in their efforts to pull new clients. We reported earlier such projects but went to visit one of these over the last weekend. Renegade Light Sport Aircraft had an open house staged in their
  SPLOG LSA News Wrap — Rotax-Icon-Tecnam-More, 08/31/2012
SPLOG begins: Another busy week finished a very active August that has seen high readership... for which we sincerely thank you. Following are some brief news stories in the LSA space. *** ROTAX "EMERGENCY AD?" Aviation media was all over the Rotax "Emergency AD" story,
  SPLOG Flying the Newest Special LSA: Sling (#125), 06/01/2012
SPLOG begins: *** While out west on business travel I had the chance to fly the latest SLSA on the List , the South African Sling . Earlier I've written about the all metal LSA's round-the-world flight but now this low wing design is being made available for sale to
  SPLOG Out of Steam? No Way! Welcome to Sling, 05/15/2012
SPLOG begins: Have you been thinking that it's been some time since a new Special LSA was announced? While the torrid pace of yesteryear has abated, it ain't over yet by a long shot. I know of at least a dozen aircraft still in progress to achieve SLSA status. Now,
  SPLOG In A Sling - And Happy!, 01/06/2010
SPLOG begins: The more I look into the story about those two wild and crazy South African dudes (post below) who flew around the world in the LSA of their own design and manufacture, the more interesting it gets. *** Just heard back from James Pitman who offered this:
  SPLOG Around The World In 40 LSA Days, 01/05/2010
SPLOG begins: Last July I ran an item on the grand LSA adventure of two South Afrikaaners, James Pitman and Mike Blyth , who set out to fly around the world -- in an LSA! *** Happy to report the boys finished the epic flight, all 45,150 km ( 27,090 miles ) with a stop
  SPLOG 'Round the World LSA Flight Arrives in Oshkosh, 07/28/2009
SPLOG begins: For most pilots flying 100 hours represents a decent year of enjoying aviation. Mike Blyth and James Pitman hit that on the first long leg of their 'round the world flight , traversing a huge expanse of ocean en route from South Africa to Oshkosh. Their
  SPLOG Slinging It Around the World in a New LSA, 07/15/2009
SPLOG begins: Normally I don't write about record attempts or exceptional flights until they are completed and even then only if they are significant. Too many grand voyages end prematurely. But I've known Mike Blyth for decades and he's already accomplished several


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