A cool bit of sport aviation history was made recently as the first US-built Sling TSi was signed off for flight test in Southern California after eight months of hard work by its owner at The Airplane Factory’s Sling Accelerated Builder Assist Program (SABAP) facility.
Builder Algen Albritten is still celebrating the first flight of his new Sling TSi, powered by the Rotax 915iS, some two weeks later, and with over 40 hours logged in the bright orange, black, and white four-place plane.
The first of a new generation of Sling FA4P (Fast/Affordable/4-Place) aircraft, the 141-hp flying machine boasts an average cruise speed of up to 155 kts at common traveling altitudes, with some 1,000 pounds of useful loads, according to company officials
A serial entrepreneur, Albritten, 32, of Jacksonville, Florida, took up temporary residence in California where he worked on his Sling TSi from its delivery in February 2019, until its sign-off by an FAA DAR in early October.
Albritten is a new pilot, starting first with ultralights. When he got the sport plane bug big-time, he spent months studying the industry before deciding on the TSi once the 141-hp 915is bird became available, company officials noted.
In the two weeks since its sign-off, Albritten and TAF’s Jean D’Assonville have flown off the required 40 hours of test flight time, putting it through its paces, and boosting Algen’s confidence in his handiwork — as well as boosting Algen’s total flight hours to nearly 100 hours.
“I wanted something rugged and easy to fly,” he said. “I’m a new pilot, so I wanted an airplane that would be simple and stable to fly, as well as get me where I wanted to go. The TSi is already meeting my expectations. I can’t wait to fly it home in the next week or so.”
The very first US-registered Sling TSi, owned by TAF Partner Wayne Toddun, made the journey to Florida for the 2019 SUN ‘n FUN fly-in in what turned out to be a truly tough 14 hour non-stop flight through some miserable weather and conditions. Later in the year, another non-stop from California to Oshkosh allowed the TSi to demonstrate a max altitude of 27,000-feet enroute, according to company officials.