Saturdays with Daniel.

Where Aviation meets Desktop.


The Sling is manufactured by 'The Airplane Factory' in South Africa. The design was done by owner Mike Blythe who has many years of experience in aviation. The two current models are the Sling 2 (2 place) and Sling 4 (4 place). It is available with either tail dragger or tricycle landing gear configuration. Construction is principally aluminium and is offered as a easy to assembly kit. Airmaster have supplied many propellers for the Sling, improving the performance and usability of the aircraft.




Enter the contribution of chairman of The Airplane Factory, James Pitman, a Johannesburg-based corporate lawyer and adrenaline junkie. Mike knew James from some crazy rock-climbing adventures. James was drawn to the creative doyen of the light aviation community, while Mike was intrigued by this wild-eyed rough diamond who combined a sharp intellect with a devilish sense of humour. And of course they both shared a boyish passion for adventure! With increased means available the business was able to dis-assemble the development prototype and assemble a new improved version. The production prototype was specifically designed to perfect the flight characteristics and ensure handling aligned to “mil spec”. To prove to themselves and their future customers that they had a worthy achievement on their hands, in July 2009 Mike and James set out (in their production prototype!) on a global circumnavigation. Mike Blyth & James Pitman ZU-TAF TAKES ON THE WORLD It is safe to say that the Sling was built for heroic adventure. The original yellow Sling 2 known as ZU-TAF flew Mike and James around the world on a 40-day, 45 000km journey. This journey included numerous 22-hour legs through the severest of weather conditions. Following the performance of the ZU-TAF over the world’s oceans at more than 50% over MAUW, it was clear that with a turbo-charged engine the aircraft would work well as a 4-seater. So the Sling 4 followed (and in turn circumnavigated the globe in 2011). The Sling Taildragger followed close behind and, with the introduction of the Rotax 915 iS engine, the Sling TSi, which marks The Airplane Factory’s most modern and effective machine to date. Designed by pilots for pilots, extraordinary lengths have been taken to build an aircraft that is safe, reliable and durable. The wide cockpit, excellent all-around view and spacious luggage capacity make the Sling a comfortable and versatile aircraft. But with its sleek design, it is also a head-turner. Throw in best-in-class handling, manoeuvrability and responsive feel and you have yourself an aircraft that is truly making a mark in the history of aviation.