Our man Paul Dye is in South Africa this week flying the all-new Sling High Wing airplane. The company has pulled out all the stops, offering Paul multiple days of flying and a rare look inside the design and manufacturing capabilities Sling brings to bear.
So what do you do when you’re visiting some folks who have a new airplane? You hop in for a sunrise flight to find some breakfast and maybe take in a few sights!
Yesterday we loaded up the new Sling High Wing and a TSI and launched out of their base on the south side of Johannesburg for a 45-minute flight to a game reserve north of Pretoria for breakfast on the veranda, followed by a Land Rover safari through the preserve to see what exotic (to this American) animals we could find.
The Slings got us to the reserve in style, landing comfortably on their entry road after chasing away a few wildebeests that were congregating at the touchdown point. A Land Rover was waiting to take us to the restaurant because “you don’t walk through the unfenced areas of the reserve.” There are very large cats about, you see. Any pilot knows the benefit of a hearty breakfast, and the lodge’s restaurant did a good job of feeding us before we set out.
No, we didn’t get to se the “big five” animals. We didn’t see any lions, tigers or cheetahs. But these zebra made an appearance, along with the ubiquitous wildebeests and impalas, the odd elephant and a trio of giraffes.
A fun time was had by all. Then it was time to load back in the airplanes for some sightseeing on the way home. With the power pulled back to 80%, which is where the Rotax 915is’ computer goes in economy mode, we we seeing a steady 135 KTAS, which is quite respectable for a four-seat high wing with a 141 hp. At that power setting, we could have gone 8 hours with full tanks, making the High Wing a nice cruising machine that can handle off pavement landings. So what’s not to like?
Look for the full report including a factory tour in a future issue of KITPLANES.