What an emotional roller-coaster! We’ve spent much of the past week keeping open the gap which would have allowed us to get to Oshkosh before the end of the show. Yesterday put the lid on that – with the CAA sticking to its guns on the 40 proving hours they require before issuing an authority to fly. That, together with the delay of the first flight from yesterday to this morning, we can’t complete the hours before tomorrow evening, Sunday 24 July, our latest practical leaving date to make Oshkosh before the show ends. Thank you Chalkie for putting it so pithily – “Take-off is optional and hurry, but slowly.”
Jean, who flew the first flight, says she flies absolutely beautifully. She certainly looked like a silver angel against the slightly hazy sky. The jury will probably be out for some days on how she flies relative to the standard Sling and of course also on exactly how well she performs. We’ll let you know our thoughts as we go and no doubt there’ll be no shortage of third party views. Since we now have no time constraint, however, we’re going to take a week to eradicate every last snag, re-apply for permissions (we’ll probably change the route back to an easterly one!) and leave for our circumnavigation holiday well rested and with the factory ready to go without us.
So date of departure is now Sunday 31 July, or as soon thereafter as we feel we’re 100% ready. Mike and Jean will still fly the first half of the trip to the US, and James and Jean the second. Most likely we’ll give Chicago a miss, but we’ll fly to LA instead – the location of our planned distribution centre in the US. Every which way we’ll be providing updates as we go – now probably more regularly than before since we’ve more time to do it.
Thank you everyone for your support. We’ve had a constant stream of visitors through the factory for the past few weeks, and the messages we’ve received since our change of plan have all been positive. Everyone seems to understand that goals need to be changed from time to time when circumstances require it. Boeing are 7 years late on some of their projects – it seems like The Airplane Factory may come out 7 days late on this one!