Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Around The World In 40 LSA Days

Last July I ran an item here on the grand LSA adventure of two South Afrikaaners, James Pitman and Mike Blyth, who set out to fly around the world - in an LSA!
Happy to report the boys finished the epic flight, all 45,150 km (27,090 miles) with a stop at EAA Airventure 2009 to boot - in 40 days!
One memorable highlight: two friends of the pilots greeted the return landing in Full Monty mode: they waved large So. African flags, wearing boots...and nothing else! (ck out those merry buffsters at left).
The story was just carried on the official Johannesburg, S.A. website, written by Makoena Pabale.
Anybody who doubts the durability and utility of LSA, take note: the chariot of choice was the Sling, built by The Airplane Factory right in Joburg.
BTW: the company is their own startup, and the Sling is their first design. Now that's confidence for you.
The attractive metal low-winger can be built from a kit or bought ready-to-fly. It's not certified for the U.S. - yet - but does conform to ASTM standards with a 1320 lb. max weight and a clean stall of 44 kts. It's also powered by the ubiquitous Rotax engine (two 912 models and the 914).
James Pitman is quoted in the story as saying, "The experience was just amazing."
The westward odyssey included stops in Hawaii, Brazil, New Guinea and 10 other countries.
One thing that stood out to me (until I did the math): the story reports the dynamic duo reached Oshkosh in just 10 days and five stops from South Africa, then went on to complete the circumnavigation in only nine more stops!
These boys either have sturdy bladders or kit-built relief tubes.
Meanwhile, the math: that's an impossible range per tankful, almost 2000 miles...naw, can't be right - company specs call for 800 nm. Well, author Pabale, nobody's perfect.
UPDATE! My bad. Although not mentioned in the story, Mssrs. Pitman and Blyth outfitted the Sling with 118 gallons of onboard fuel for the flight only. The potential 1900 mi-plus legs was indeed accurate. Which takes me back to the bladder question!
Meanwhile...Well done, lads!
---photos courtesy The Airplane Factory

1 comment:

Sean said...

There's a video of these two on the EAA website wherein the bladder question is resolved. Look for it in the archives section.