“Following my lengthy travels in ZU-SHW, it was quite strange to return all the way to South Africa in just 10 hours! The process was made infinitely more bearable though by the upgrade of my bucket-price seat to BA ‘Club Class’ – thanks to a bunch of BA pilot Sling builders who came past the Sling tent at the Popham Airshow, Hampshire, to which I took my last flight in our high wing baby. (I felt very proud to discover that there are no less than 7 Slings and Sling builds within 20 miles of Popham)! I abandoned SHW at the show, from where our Sling UK distributor, Tim Hardy, flew her back to Top Farm.
Now she’s being flown back to SA by the Dutch couple, Rosita Smeenk (“Pilot Bambi”) and her partner Maurits Maters.
Rosita and Maurits are great Youtube filmmakers – Having completed their journey to SA, they’ll be making a series of short movies about their en-route adventures. Sadly though, you only get to view their real-time ‘along-the-way’ blogs if you’re one of their sponsors!
Nevertheless, I can assure you that Bambi and Maurits are having an absolutely wonderful time, our aeroplane is in good hands and they’ll be making some great films when the trip is done. To date, their journey has taken them from their home airfield, Hilversum in Holland, to Austria (the Rotax factory), Italy, Crete, Egypt, Sudan, Kenya and now Tanzania. Tomorrow they plan to fly over Kilimanjaro to monitor glacial developments on the summit.
The planned route from Kili, I believe, takes Bambi and Maurits down to Dar es Salaam, where Bambi spent much of her childhood, and on through Malawi and Zambia. On November 8th, they’ll be meeting a Sling welcome party at Camp Kalahari, Botswana – including no less than four of the ‘Joburg-to-Oshkosh’ crew – me, Mike, Linda and Matt, in three Slings, and with friends and family along.
Our plan is to spend a couple of days in Botswana, three in Namibia, and to return to Johannesburg, in formation, late afternoon Saturday, November 12th, where we’ll be hosting a homecoming celebration at the Sling factory. Stand by for details if you’d like to attend. The squadron – a Sling 2, a Sling TSi, ZU-SHW and the prototype Sling High Wing Taildragger, ZU-TDR, will aim to land at Tedderfield at about 16h30 in the afternoon – just the right time to crack open a cold Saturday afternoon beer. We hope to see you there!”