Sling Aircraft Tour: Keeping the Pipeline Flowing

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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.

This is what “vertical Integration” gets you in a world of supply chain issues. Sling Aircraft produces almost everything for their line of aircraft in house. From building their own spars, to welding up motor mounts—all the way to do their own upholstery and paint—they try hard to be their own supplier.

Their metal-cutting and -punching facilities produce their own sheetmetal parts from a huge supply of raw stock on hand, and their composites shop takes the designs from their in-house engineering staff, produces prototype plugs, molds and then all the finished parts. I think that if they could run a cattle ranch to produce their own leather, they’d look in to it! (Might provide great meals for their staff of nearly 350 workers as a bonus).

These two pictures shows their stock room, which gives you an idea how many parts they have on hand—just look at all those cowlings. The other image is of their packing/shipping facility, where they build crating and containers for parts and quickbuild components that are being shipped worldwide.

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Sling occupies the better part of all the large hangars on one side of Tedderfield Air Park, and are constantly looking to expand. The new High Wing will be increasing their demand, as well as their production capability.

Reporting from Johannesburg, Tedderfield Air Park.

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Paul Dye, KITPLANES® Editor at Large, retired as a Lead Flight Director for NASA’s Human Space Flight program, with 40 years of aerospace experience on everything from Cubs to the Space Shuttle. An avid homebuilder, he began flying and working on airplanes as a teen, and has experience with a wide range of construction techniques and materials. He flies an RV-8 that he built, an RV-3 that he built with his pilot wife, as well as a Dream Tundra they completed. Currently, they are building a Xenos motorglider. A commercially licensed pilot, he has logged over 6000 hours in many different types of aircraft and is an A&P, EAA Tech Counselor and Flight Advisor, as well as a former member of the Homebuilder’s Council. He consults and collaborates in aerospace operations and flight-testing projects across the country.

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