June 2, 2016 - A team made up of volunteers from the Light Aircraft Association and representatives of the kit manufacturer Sling are set to build an aircraft from a kit in seven days, before and during the LAA Rally at Sywell in Northamptonshire September 2-4.
The LAA, based at Turweston Aerodrome in Buckinghamshire, promotes safe and economical operation of sport and recreational aircraft in the U.K. Representing the aviation interests of over 7,000 recreational pilots, homebuilders, and enthusiast members, the LAA oversees the operation of more than 2,500 light aircraft and the construction or rebuild of another 1,600 projects, as well as advocacy efforts throughout the U.K. and Europe.
The challenge, never set before in the U.K., will see around a dozen volunteers embark on the build in the week before the event, with the aircraft being constructed in one of the marquees forming part of the Rally, which also marks the 70th Anniversary of Britain’s leading sport aviation association.
It is hoped that the aircraft, which will be the first Sling to fly in the U.K., will make its maiden flight on the final day of the show. “We wanted to set a challenge that would help us mark the 70th anniversary of the organization in style” said LAA Chief Executive Steve Slater. “We were delighted to discover that Mike Dawson and the Sling team were likeminded, and the project grew from there.”
The Sling 4 aircraft is produced as a kit by the Airplane Factory at Eikenhof, near Johannesburg, South Africa, and features riveted aluminum construction, with the kit’s pre-drilled panels aiding simple and rapid completion. The four-seat aircraft is powered by a turbocharged Rotax 914 engine and has a cruise speed of 138mph (221 kph).
Visitors to the Rally will be invited to drop in to view the build and also to try their hand at riveting some panels and helping with the final assembly. “It adds a new dimension to a ‘hands-on’ visitor experience” jokes Steve, “but it really proves a key LAA tenet, that anyone can build and fly their own personal aircraft.”