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Sling LSA Prototype Lost During Spin Testing


Sling at AirVenture
The Sling LSA at AirVenture as part of its globetrotting journey last year.

February 25, 2010The Airplane Factory, based in South Africa, reported in a press release on its website that the second prototype Sling LSA aircraft crashed in the ocean off the South African coast during spin testing on February 13. Crewmembers were able to bail out of the aircraft and successfully deploy their parachutes. AirVenture 2009 attendees may recall seeing the aircraft, ZU-TAF, when it visited Oshkosh during its global circumnavigation flight by company owners Mike Blyth and James Pitman.

The Sling had shown great performance at the LSA weight limit (1,320 pounds) and that spurred The Airplane Factory to certify the aircraft to 1,543 pounds. That change required additional flight testing, which they combined with its spin testing program. Test pilot Carlos Garcia-Cabral and Shaun Fraser, who was along for flight data recording purposes, completed a series of spin tests to predicted results. Garcia-Cabral then requested the center of gravity be moved further aft and an increased fuel load.

The second set of spin tests in the new configuration went normally until the test called for the aircraft to be put into flat spin. The crew was not able to recover from the maneuver and deployed the ballistic aircraft parachute. The aircraft chute malfunctioned and the crew had to bail out with Garcia-Cabral fracturing his spine during the egress. 
The incident occurred 200 miles off the coast and once the crew exited the aircraft it recovered from the spin before it entered the water. Garcia-Cabral is expected to recover from his injuries and The Airplane Factory will have a new aircraft flying next month. For more information, click here.

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