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South Africa To Oshkosh In The Sling4

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Mike Blyth of The Airplane Factory flew one leg of 14 hours, bucking headwinds over open water, with his son in the Rotax-powered Sling 4 metal kit-built aircraft, to arrive at the show grounds of AirVenture Oshkosh 2013. Blyth and his son flew with an extra 40-gallon fuel tank in the back seat and 80 gallons in the wings, which Blyth says could keep the Rotax 914 UL turning through 20 hours of flight if they needed to divert for weather during an overseas leg. The standard kit aircraft is a 4-seater with a 1000-pound useful load and a fuel burn of less than six gallons per hour. The long flight isn't the first or the longest for the Sling family of aircraft. The two seat Sling2 went much farther in 2009.

After one year spent testing the prototype Sling2 -- which is available as an amateur-built experimental or an E-LSA, Blyth and his business partner James Pitman decided to take it for a global circumnavigation. The Sling2 is powered by a Rotax 912- or 914-series engine and normally has a range of about 800 nm. Fitted with extra tanks the team spent 40 days and nights logging 220 hours of flight time across more than 24,000 miles of earth. Several legs of the journey crossed more than 2,000 miles of ocean, flying east to west. The Sling4 is an evolution of that aircraft and is built to carry four people at about 120 kts over 800 nm on 46 gallons.

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