One of the best things about going out to visit kit companies—aside from the airplanes of course—is meeting the people that make up our community and industry. I have spent time at so many kit companies that it is hard to visit with all the acquaintances I have made over the years when I get to AirVenture every year! Great folks, and every one of them with their own story – just like the builders and pilots who buy kits and airplanes!
Such is the case with my new friends from Sling Aircraft. When I visited South Africa a couple of weeks ago, it was to fly the new High Wing and see just how they build all of their kits and aircraft. But to accomplish those goals, I also had to learn about the backgrounds of the company founder and chief designer, Mike Blythe. Mike is a pilot and engineer with a serious bent, but also someone with a wry sense of humor that comes out when talking with his many team members or over a beer at an airport evening barbecue, or Braai as they call it.
Then there is another key man in the office, Chairman James Pittman, self-proclaimed adrenaline junkie and corporate lawyer—two things that don’t seem to go together until you meet James. James likes flying, climbing, cycling—if it can give you a rush, he’ll be there. That Braai I mentioned? James arrived by parachute after jumping out of a Trike a couple of thousand feet over the airport… at sunset.
With guys like this running the show, it was no surprise that when I showed up, they were chuckling over a little film they were making, riffing on the trailer for the upcoming “Top Gun: Maverick” movie. Not ones to be left out of the fun, they re-envisioned the quick-cut action trailer, envisioning themselves in the roll and having a lot of fun with their variety of airplanes, bicycles, and an airport local with cameras and special effects skills. I was privileged to join in the “practical effects” team when a little shaking of an airframe was required, but I don’t think my name is in the credits. Oh well…its all in the name of art!
This article originally appeared in KITPLANES. For more great content like this, subscribe to KITPLANES!
Awesome. Who wouldn’t want to meet these guys. Sounds like you had some fun.
Different expressions on faces of what shows without launching video are ‘interesting’. :-
This is a great piggyback “Stunt” that these guys have created 😂🤣😂
Great intro to a great small Bush-plane with good footage on their channel.