The aircraft used in the Around the World Expedition 2009 is based on our production model The Sling, with a few basic modifications. Sling 002, the ’round-the-world’ Sling that Mike and James are in, is a standard Airplane Factory Sling with 4 modifications. The modifications are: The sealing off of two sections of the each
Mike and James, proud owners of The Airplane Factory, will be flying the D6 Sling Aircraft from Johannesburg, South Africa, around the globe. Mike Blyth Mike, 50% shareholder in The Airplane Factory, is a fifth generation South African with a passion for aviation. A pioneer of early microlight aviation in South Africa, Mike has been
If a leg below has yellow font, it means that that specific leg has been completed. The table below has all the various legs of our trip loaded so that you can follow along with us to see where and when we arrived at various locations as well as the distance that was travelled. Leg DepartingFrom Country
16th July 2009 The date of departure has been moved to 11am on Saturday the 18th of July 2009. The Sling Around the World team have put in a lot of extra hours preparing the aircraft and flight testing and need an unhurried final preparation time and this will give them one more day to
22nd July 2009 - Mike & James about to leave from Guinea
Just got off the phone with Mike (18:00 SA Local Time). As you know they were released by the cops and got the camera back. So it was a mad rush to get back to the airfield. The problem with the IndigoSat Satellite Tracking System is still being resolved, and unfortunately we foresee that for a while we might not be able to track the guys visually. Mike & James are on their way to a petrol/gas station quickly as they discovered there is no Avgas, and should be leaving by 19:00 SA Local Time. They would like everybody to know that they are in high spirits and will speak to us soon.
22nd July 2009 - Slight trouble in Conakry
Things turned a bit pear shaped last night after we'd managed to escape a million hustlers and take a walk through the dark Conakry streets to find a restaurant on our own. We ate at a Moroccan place and when I was trying to capture some of the street vibe afterwards, a policeman walked through the view finder. That led to the confiscation of our film camera and three hours of being frogmarched from one military police 'bureaux' to another. That included some very dark and dilapidated buildings, leading to ever smarter and more tastelessly decorated offices as our accusers became more senior (and more ugly and unpleasant). It appears that taking a couple of frames of a random street in which a cop walks past is taken very, very seriously and constitutes an immediate threat to national security.
Anyhow, we were escorted back to the Novotel at after midnight, absolutely totally bushed, and told to return the headquarters "Etats Gendarmerie Militere" or some such crap this morning at 08h30. Mike's alarm went off at 07h00 SA time, rather than local time, so all in all we really haven't had much sleep (about 4 hours, after flying right through two nights out of the last three!), and I imagine we're in for quite a morning. I suppose that this is one way to guarantee we meet some of the worst people in Guinea - we certainly scraped the barrel last night.
If we do get out of this mess in time, we still plan to leave for Belem at 15h00, or as soon as possible thereafter, and we'll do our best to get the satellite tracker working. Assuming we get off, it's going to be a very long night. Without an HF radio we'll likely be totally on our own, without any outside comms, save perhaps to other aircraft, for about 20 of the 25 hours that this flight will take if we have no tail wind.
1st August 2009 – James' Log Phew, I see that the break we've taken from daily updates has had the consequence that at least one person is going to buy a composite aircraft. I figured it may be serious, but not that serious, so here we are, back again, in the midst of a bombing
6th August 2009 – Departure to Hawaii Mike & James have left Los Angeles, California, and are now en-route to Hilo, Hawaii. The flight to Hawaii will cover a distance of 3,950km and is expected to take nearly 21 hours. Thank you to Ramona Cox for the following photos, and Matt Liknaitzky for the video
12th August 2009 – Mike's Log And Video Diary From Marshall Islands HAWAII I for one don't like to impose on others…James is the same really. But Chris Haarhoff was insistent – if we made it to Maui then one of his best friends would meet us and take care of us. It's nicer to
18th August 2009 – Message from the grannies Hi Mike & James, The grannies were so worried that you were just flying through the islands without having any time to enjoy the view of the local island girls, that they sent this picture through to give you a bit of “Island Girl” eye candy They
4th September 2009 – Live Q&A Session Our live Q&A session went very well with nearly 1200 viewers following the broadcast. Thank you to everyone who participated. For those of you who missed it, you can go to www.justin.tv/airplanefactory to view the broadcast. Just have a look beneath the main broadcast area on this page,