Visit to Sling Pilot Academy
My recent job change has me traveling out the Mojave CA about once a month. I took advantage this trip to make a visit back to where my airplane building journey started – the Sling dealer in Torrance, CA. My reason for visiting was two-fold: to get some flight time on a TSi for familiarization, and to log hours for insurance purposes (the quotes I received for my plane all required 10 hours of dual instruction in same make/model). I figure I can get those 10 hours over the next few work trips, that will make me a lot more comfortable and confident when it’s time for me to fly my plane for the first time.
The Torrance facility has grown a bit since I last visited in 2018, they now have a full flight training operation with multiple “Sling NG” aircraft, RedBird simulators, and a bunch of students and flight instructors, many aiming for a cargo or airline pilot job.
I had a fantastic CFII (Christian W) take me up in N135WT, the very first TSi here in the states. This is the same plane I saw for the first time at Oshkosh 2018, it was nice to be able to fly it this time. Our flight took us south to the practice area near the Long Beach docks and then we went over to Long Beach airport to practice landings. I started reviewing AC90-89B, which covers flight test planning, and for the first flight, it’s all about making sure controls work correctly, the plane is stable, and then coming back to land at a safe speed: 1.5x stall speed in landing configuration. This is a little faster than the normal landing speed for this plane, so I wanted the practice landing at that speed. We also practiced short field as well as flaps up landings.
This was also the first time I flew in a plane with this 915iS engine and Airmaster propeller, and oh my gosh is it awesome! So much power, climbs like crazy. I had to really pull the nose back to climb out at Vy, which is 74 knots. On my first takeoff, I was pointing the nose the way I’m used to seeing out a C172, but the Sling was easily reaching 90+ knots in this attitude. The combination of the 915iS and the constant speed prop really does an amazing job of putting its 141HP to work, which is quite a bit less power than the C172’s 160 HP 0-320 I’m used to. I feel so happy that I decided to go with this plane, engine and prop combo.
I rewarded myself with a pint and a chicken sandwich at the BuzzRock Brewing Co (RMH3+G9 Torrance, California), it was a pretty cool open-air beer hall, definitely recommend it to anyone coming out this way to visit Sling.