Sling TSi Makes 13.5-hour, Nonstop Flight from California to Florida


Sling Aircraft’s Jean d’Assonville and Wayne Toddun successfully completed a nonstop trip from Torrance, California, to the Lakeland area for Sun ‘n Fun 2019 in 13.5 hours. Benefiting from early tailwinds and an additional 30 gallons of fuel (over the normal 45-gallon long-range tanks), the Sling TSi made the trip with ease, landing with 1.5 hours of fuel, despite the crew having to maneuver around spring weather.

According to d’Assonville, the idea started with the usual need to get aircraft from the company’s U.S. headquarters in Torrance to Sun ‘n Fun. “It’s a bit of a flying circus,” he says. “We make many stops because we’re limited by the slowest airplanes with the smallest fuel tanks.” But now that the company has had some success and the two-seat LSAs are available locally, there was only the need to bring the new TSi eastward. So they hatched the plan to fly nonstop.

“We took off at 4:00 a.m., just a bit over gross,” d’Assonville recalls. “We cruise climbed to 17,500 feet at 120 KIAS and 300 FPM or so. For the first bit of the trip we had nice tailwinds and fine weather. But then around New Orleans, we hit a line of rain we couldn’t cross.” Eventually, the crew descended in VFR conditions to within 1000 feet of the Gulf of Mexico.

“Of course, now we’d lost our tailwind and, in fact, picked up a headwind,” says d’Assonville. “We decided that we could continue by throttling back, so we did. We were able to go 100 KTAS on between 4.2 and 4.6 gallons per hour. By comparison, at 17,500 feet, we were going 155 KTAS on 6.8 GPH. Even though we had a 37-knot headwind, we still had the fuel reserves.”

The Sling TSi actually landed at Tampa Executive because Lakeland was closed for the night. After 13.5 hours in the airplane, “which was actually very comfortable,” they said, the next day, they brought the TSi into Lakeland.

The TSi is a heavily updated version of the Sling 4 four-seat experimental. Myriad aerodynamic refinements have upped its performance, as has the 141-HP Rotax 915IS. Built of conventional aluminum, the TSi kits will be available this summer. Estimated finished cost is just over $141,000 (including engine, prop and avionics) but a quick-build option is available, bringing the total to just more than $164,000.