Welcoming Home the First Sling 4 on the East Coast!
14 November, 2020
I recently had the honor to attend the big homecoming celebration for my friends and their newly-completed Sling 4! A huge achievement for Craig & Ellen, who have been looking forward to this day for 6 1/2 years!
Before landing Craig did a little fly-by so we could see the plane flying up close (YouTube link):
Craig was the very first Sling builder I met, and persuaded me to go visit the dealer in California. He’s also the first person in the United States to build a Sling 4. Being among the first meant there were a lot of challenges and lessons he learned along the way, which he thoroughly documented on his build blog. His advice has been immensely helpful in my own project.
Craig flew the plane home from Oklahoma where the initial 40 hours of flight testing were completed. For the big journey home, Craig enlisted the help of fellow builder Bob Zaleski, who built a Sling 2 with his wife Joan a few years earlier and have already racked up over 600 hours of flight time. Bob is a retired AA captain, and has been a huge Sling Aircraft advocate. I met them at Oshkosh 2018, and have kept in touch via a vibrant Facebook group of Sling Builders and enthusiasts.
Among the welcoming crowd were builders and pilots from Craig’s local EAA chapter, who took the time to put together a short video of the event. Here’s the link, or watch via the embed:
There are quite a few other builders like myself who will be close to finishing in the next year or two. The Sling 2 and 4 have been pretty popular in Europe and Africa, but the Sling TSi has been the real success story. On a recent Zoom call, Sling Aircraft’s director and founder reported that they’ve sold over 160 TSis, both in finished and kit-build formats since it launched in 2018. Expect to see and hear a lot more Slings flying overhead soon. They definitely sound different with the Rotax engine up front. I also think they look better than most planes out on the ramp!