Closing off the year was, as always, a monumental task for all at TAF. Targets were set in October for deliveries to be made before closing and wow, what a drive followed. Weeks of late nights and back to back test flights culminated in eight 40-foot containers being delivered, packed, fumigated and road hauled to Durban for export around the world in the last two weeks of the year.
Four LSA's including two more Sling Next Generation Trainers (Sling NGT's) for our Sling Pilot Academy in California, three TSi quick builds, one Sling 2 quick build and four factory built TSi's for the South African, Australian and Namibian markets. I love it when a plan comes together. Thank you Team TAF.
Sales have been fantastic this year and delivery times have improved exponentially. Apart from the exciting all new Sling TSi High Wing pre-orders I have already mentioned in previous newsletters, we managed to deliver 89 Slings in various formats (40 to the USA alone) and 30 Sonaca S200 kits and airframes this year, making this by far our most successful year to date.
With an order book that now takes us right through to the end of August, it's time for a short rest before dialing in the next reporting point, the Sling TSi High Wing to Oshkosh Adventure! Yep that's right, watch this space…
I hope you enjoy reading through our tales of adventure and wish you a festive and relaxing holiday break!
Cheers for now!
Excellence at The Aero Club Annual Awards
What does the pioneering spirit look like? 2008 saw us perform our very first test flight in our very first prototype ZU-ETO. 11 years and 500 Sling Aircraft sales later, we have been awarded the 2019 P.G.S Trophy by The Aero Club of South Africa for "Excellence in Manufacturing and Design in the South African Recreational Aviation Industry."
Our ongoing success is testament to the vision and energy of James Pitman, Mike Blyth and Andrew Pitman in the production of aircraft that are ideally suited to the recreational aviation community. Further, at the center of our history has been a commitment to become and remain the world's most loved and respected aircraft manufacturer, driven by the desire to create the finest, most loved, practical, safe and reliable aircraft in the world; a vision which will extend to the next 11 years. In addition, our mission of contributing to the growth, happiness and personal fulfilment of all stakeholders within the company is one we are achieving through the employment and skills development of individuals who come from disadvantaged backgrounds.
We trust that we will continue to be a noteworthy center of excellence both within our country and across the globe.
Let The MojoGrip Sling TSi Build Commence!
It's the moment we've all been waiting for! Earlier this year, YouTube vlogger, MojoGrip, announced that he will be building a Sling TSi through our build assist program at The Airplane Factory in Torrance California. Shortly after, his Sling TSi kit was ordered and arrived a few weeks ago. This will be a new series of videos for his Sling TSi build where we will upload new build videos to document his journey. Subscribe and follow along!
Episode 1: In episode 1, we see MojoGrip unboxing his recently received Sling TSi kit! Episode 2 will see him assemble his Sling TSi Vertical Stabilizer.
Episode 2: "This was Day 1 of my Sling TSi Airplane build at The Airplane Factory. The first component we are putting together is the vertical stabilizer of the airplane. This is the part of the empennage that houses the electrical wires for the taillights and also hinges/holds the rudder of the airplane. To build the frame of the vertical stabilizer, first we had to dimple the holes in many of the parts, then we used clecos to hold the frame together as shown in the instruction manual. Once we had all the right parts held together, we unloaded the clecos and inserted rivets. What you'll notice in the video is that the dimpled holes are what allow for flushed rivets on the aircraft. This helps reduce drag in performance so the airplane can move along quicker."
Episode 3: "In episode 3, we are finishing the last touches for the vertical stabilizer. More rivets to pull! The frame of the vertical stabilizer was completed in my last video. Now we are putting the electrical wires and the skin on the frame to close it off. This part of the build took 6 - 8 hours. Thanks to Jean and everyone at The Airplane Factory build assist for staying around late so we could finish. Next episode, we will continue to build the horizontal stabilizer. Stay tuned!"
Episode 4: "I need your help to pick a paint colour scheme for my Sling TSi. The finished aircraft will have some speckle of orange colour both in the interior and exterior. The interior will be mostly black since we'll have black leather seats. So I want the exterior paint to have a similar pattern. I fell in love with this aircrafts paint scheme, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5_U5aVgaasA, and I would love to have something similar. You guys let me know your thoughts on the aircraft designs and what colour combination you would like to see."
Why Algen Albritten Built A Sling TSi
Algen Albritten is a business owner and entrepreneur based in Jacksonville, Florida. He has just finished building the very first Sling TSi in the United States. Algen decided on the Build Assist Program at TAF USA and his aircraft was completed in 8 months under the supervision of our highly-skilled technicians and engineers. He recently conducted an interview with YouTube vlogger, MojoGrip, on what flight and aircraft ownership means to him. This is his story.
Teenagers Are Building A Sling 2 In Florida!
UPDATE: March 2019 saw the local chapter of the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) unveiling their latest program, the Naples Youth Aviation Project (NYAP). The project is aimed at providing young aviation enthusiasts the adventure of a lifetime: building a Sling 2 Aircraft that will eventually make its first flight at Naples Airport, Florida. Bob Zaleski, Sling 2 owner and project leader has more!
The Sling Store Launches 2020
Welcome to the soon-to-be-launched Sling Store! Whether you have an aircraft on order or just dream of the day, you can soon proudly sport some cool Sling gear both locally and abroad that's been carefully designed to the same high standard as our Sling Aircraft. Everything you need will soon be available online for purchase both locally and across the globe. The Sling Store launches January 10th 2020!
TAF Launches New Sling Aircraft Domain
Slingers Across the Globe
Shout out to Luis Fernandez, our Distributor based in Argentina who recently sent us imagery of the EAA Argentina annual convention and had this to say of their exhibit, "This weekend the annual convention of the EAA Argentina took place in our aerodrome. We opened the hangar and exhibited Fabio del Castro's Sling 4, my Sling 2 and a Sling 2 Quickbuild kit. A lot of people passed by, many really interested and requested we keep in touch with them. We have hope for the future." Thank you for the imagery Luis!
Sylvain Henneton, our Distributor based in France recently sent us imagery of the very first test flight of the very first Sling 2 to ever fly in France. He had this to say of the experience, "Dear Slingers, I have the great pleasure to announce that last week, departing from the Villefranche Tarrare Airfield near Lyon (LFHV) I realized the first flight of the first Sling 2 to fly in France. This plane was sold by JETLAG group and built from a Quickbuild kit by Nathalie and François. It is equipped with the Rotax 912 engine, DUC propeller, EFIS Garmin G3X avionics and GX5. During this weekend, the builders of an additional Sling 2 were also present to attend these flights and watch the technical solutions used by the manufacturers of this Sling. Thank you in advance for your help and I wish you a good end of the day!" It is our biggest pleasure Sylvain!
If you love your Sling Aircraft as much as Luis and Sylvain, please be sure to keep in touch and send us your photos, stories, and flying adventures. You too could be featured living the Sling lifestyle!
Sold! Global Deliveries
Congratulations to our latest Sling owners from around the world who recently took delivery of their Sling Aircraft!
South Africa - Marga Lombard (Sling TSi RTF - Listed second row left
South Africa - Willie de Klerk (Sling 2 RTF - Listed second row right)
South Africa - Skyhawk Aviation (Sling 2 RTF)
USA - Algen Albritten (Sling TSi Quickbuild - Listed first row)
USA - (Sling 2 Trainer)
USA - (Sling 2 Trainer)
Welcome to the Sling Lifestyle! Please be sure to keep in touch and send us your photos, stories and flying adventures. Should you be interested in purchasing your first, second or heck, even your third Sling, please feel free to contact our Sales Executives, Kim and Bertus, who will be more than happy to assist you throughout this adventure!
Slingers in The News
The Airplane Factory has upgraded the Sling 4 with a powerful new engine that has created a whole new aircraft as John Absolon of Australian Flying found during a visit to the Gold Coast.
- Australian Flying Magazine
Starting in 2010, Mike and James have created a truly extraordinary South African business, The Airplane Factory, and have since sold over 500 airplanes around the world.
- The Startup Truth Blog
An aircraft that caught my attention this year was the Sling TSi, a modern, fast and economical four-place aircraft, equipped with a turbo-injected Rotax 915 iS engine and excellent visibility.
- Midwest Flyer Magazine
The Passion Behind the Product
A Walk Through the Factory
You've seen our Sling Aircraft wings soar overhead. Did you ever wonder how they're made? We'll show you how! Welcome to The Airplane Factory. It all starts here!