I’m afraid in all the excitement we’ve been a bit slack on providing proper updates over the past 48 hours. Not through lack of progress, but perhaps a little bit through frustration at the pace of it.
Yesterday was a great day. We were honoured by the presence of Mr Zakhele Thwala, the Director of Civil Aviation, who came to launch the Sling 4 and bless her in advance of her trip around the world. Sadly the wings were not yet on, but her beauty was nevertheless apparent to all. Mr Thwala was accompanied by Ms Mary Stephens and Mr Piet Fourie of the CAA. Thank you very much Mr Thwala and the CAA for your support for our project. Thanks for your gifts upon the launch of our second baby and special thanks Director Thwala for your kind words which had a noticeable motivating effect upon our staff members – they were delighted by your visit! Thank you also to Neil, Willem and Kevin from RAASA for coming through and particularly for the certificate bestowed upon TAF at the Virginia Airshow on Saturday – again, the staff, let alone the owners of the factory, were over the moon.
Following yesterday’s formalities a great deal of work was done on the canopy, instruments and centre fuselage. Ten staff members and helpers worked through the day, the night and then again through today, save only for three and a half hours’ sleep from five thirty until nine this morning. The enthusiasm was palpable, but unfortunately we hit some snags in reaming out the wing bolt holes late last night and that’s taken a great deal of the day to resolve.
So once again we’ve had to slightly move back our expected date of departure for Oshkosh. You need to be an optimist to succeed in any business, but especially so in the aviation business. We remain optimistic that we’re going to depart for Oshkosh before sundown Sunday evening, 24 July 2011. If we do, and providing the weather plays ball, we’ll make it to Osh before the show finale on Saturday 30 July. But if we don’t get away by Sunday 24 July, we’ll take a few days break, reconsider our precise routing, and we’ll circumnavigate the globe the way it’s probably meant to be done – footloose and fancy free, for the hell of it!
Right now we’d like to fly the aircraft tomorrow evening, Thursday, and leave for Oshkosh Saturday afternoon. My honest best bet, however, is that we’ll fly early Friday morning and leave either Saturday late evening or Sunday midday.