When the production prototype Sling , ZU-TAF was flown around the world during 2009 at take-off and landing she was loaded to 965kg, some 365kg above the maximum all up weight applicable to the light sport aircraft category for which she was designed. Yet she proved herself again and again, performing consistently well at that weight with only a 100hp Rotax 912 ULS engine.
The Sling 4, a light 4 seater variation of the standard Sling, will have an empty weight approximately 50kg heavier than the standard 2 seater Sling. With a maximum all up weight of 850kg it will have a useful load in the vicinity of 400kg, making it a respectable light 4 seater aircraft. With a 115hp turbo charged Rotax 914 UL engine, a constant speed propeller, a fuselage lengthened by some 550mm and standard Sling wings extended by 400mm each at the root, she should perform as well as the standard Sling.
In fact, so confident are we that we intend to fly our prototype Sling 4 to EAA Airventure Oshkosh, leaving within a week of her first flight, and return to Johannesburg by again circumnavigating the globe. Construction of the prototype Sling 4 commenced today and we intend to keep the public updated as the build progresses, particularly towards the end. Although the initial plan was for all 3 shareholders in the business (Mike, James and Jean) to complete the circumnavigation, production and management commitments at the factory are such that it’s impractical to take all 3 directors out of circulation for the full 4 week period of the flight. Instead Mike and Jean will be flying to Oshkosh, going west this time, and James and Jean will be returning. From Oshkosh back to SA there will also be a third pilot in the aircraft, the identity of whom is yet to be finalized, although at present if looks like our weather expert from the 2009 trip, Tim Parsonson, also a qualified pilot.
For a taste of what the Sling 4 will look like take a look at the computer generated renderings below created by our head draftsman, Ruan Coetzee. For the precise planned routing for the circumnavigation download the Google Earth file called “Sling 4 ATW” and take a look.
More next Monday!