MGL's Sling - impressions after the first two weeks

The Airplane Factory, manufacturers of the Sling aircraft, a practical and desirable light sport aircraft (LSA)

Moderator: Moderators

rainier
1k poster
1k poster
Posts: 1279
Joined: Thu Jul 27, 2006 10:33 am
Location: Somerset West
Has liked: 13 times
Been liked: 58 times

MGL's Sling - impressions after the first two weeks

Unread post by rainier » Wed Jan 18, 2012 4:41 pm

Well, ZU-MGL been around 2 weeks in MGL's hangar now so it is time to give some feedback.

First the Sling itself. Yes, high build quality is certainly present, nothing to shoot down here that I can find so far. Everything works as advertised. Mike installed a E-Flap controller. Very nice but it does have an issue, perhaps the only one that I can complain about - once you press a button to select a flap position, it will not accept another selection until that position is reached. Perhaps not a biggie but this should be changed by the maker of this gadget.
The flush riveting has turned out very nice and well worth the effort and extra expense. It just adds so much to the looks of the aircraft. It does add to the performance too and a little more than I expected. I have not flown a "normal" Sling so it is difficult to compare but it seems I can hold 118-120 knots at 5500 RPM all day long at around 20 or so liters/hour. Not bad for such a big aircraft and a Rotax 912 ULS with a fixed pitch ground adjustable 72" three blade Warp (operating at sea level).
That sets the scene for first impressions: Size. The Sling is a big aircraft and it feels big when you sit inside. Yes, it is also comfortable and has loads of stowage space. Real useful if you want to go somewhere. Looks. Well, there is little out there in this category of aircraft that can match a Sling on looks. She flies even if she doesn't.
Mike Blyth gave me a first conversion assistance and Jay Hyde has also contributed with a few useful tips. This brings me to the second part, the flying. Up to now my fixed wing experience is pretty much limited to the high wing Jora which is best described as a "tail dragger with a nose gear". A real "hands on" aircraft with some amazing capabilities but very different to the Sling which is best described as a cruiser with some amazing semi-aerobatic capabilities thrown in for good measure.
The Jora I fly with my right hand on the stick and the left on the throttle. Yup, the Sling is just the other way around. Mike says "Don't worry, half an hour and you'll be fine". Ya, right ! I'm no Chuck Yeager. Took me a little longer than that but I'm now sorted. I love flying her in calm conditions now - much easier to grease landings consistently compared to the Jora I know so well. Interesting that. Cross-winds on Stellenbosch's runway 19 however have me spooked a bit still. Need a lot more practise. I'm used to a busy office in the Jora under these conditions and still have the tendency to over control and chase the Sling which seems to only want a little guidance. But I'll get there. Baby steps are needed.
Flying the Sling is great fun: Very agile, incredible roll rate - this starts to give a tiny impression what it must be like to fly a real aerobatics machine. I love the big slotted flaps. I feel like a Boeing in the circuit. Much easier to fly a nice approach compared to the Jora. Easy to maintain speed - just set the trim and there is little to do until you reach the threshold. Like it's on rails. Lovely.
Talking about a big, heavy aircraft for a 100 horse engine - early in the summer mornings before the great heat hits the airfield I have seen 1200 ft/minute on the VSI (at around 500Kg all up weight). That is quite respectable. Those big wings certainly pack some lift when needed.
The sliding canopy is very well engineered. I must admit I enjoy taxing the sling with canopy open and elbow stuck on the rails almost more than flying it !
MGL's Sling is registered as LSA as my license is a NPL and I can't upgrade to PPL due to medical reasons. While it is exactly the same aircraft as the 700Kg PPL version, I am not allowed to use the left tank, halving fuel capacity to 75 liters. That is not a real problem (and amazingly, I can't notice even a tiny trim issue on the bank with this). However, there is a problem. Don't slip right wing down for more than a short moment - the engine will suck air, not fuel. Surely that can't be what the CAA wants ? Well, I'm keeping a few liters in the left tank, just for this. It's my skin.
Even if I would load 150 liters of fuel and my wife who tops the scale at no more than 50Kg or less - I'm still under 600Kg MTOW allowance. Hmm, you be the judge...

So, I am happy. But ZU-MGL is not for play. It is a work horse. It is MGL's new avionics research and development platform and has been selected from a large range of choices as it fits the requirements best. The Sling covers a large range of aircraft uses which is useful. It has perfectly normal flying characteristics, nothing funny and comparable to the best out there. This is important for MGL's developments and extends the capabilities we have in this regard with the Jora which will remain in MGL's stable. Both aircraft complement each other.

There are many choices available to the South African aircraft buyer for a LSA (or slightly larger). The Sling is not the cheapest - that is true. But you sure get your money's worth, little doubt about that. Now I want to build one myself. Just for kicks...

Rainier
Who said the sky is the limit ? I think not.
pieter001
Power off Glide
Posts: 319
Joined: Tue May 03, 2011 11:14 am
Closest Airfield: NZWN
Location: NZ
Has liked: 0
Been liked: 0

Re: MGL's Sling - impressions after the first two weeks

Unread post by pieter001 » Mon Jan 23, 2012 8:31 am

Rainier,

Thank you for your write up, it is great to get some insight into your experience with the SLING 2.

I do trust that you'll have many wonderful hours in her and that she delivers above expectation as far as your testing goes.

Best wishes,

Pieter
ZS-CBW Mooney M20E - Plane Jane -> Sadly she is no more
Building a Whisper X
rainier
1k poster
1k poster
Posts: 1279
Joined: Thu Jul 27, 2006 10:33 am
Location: Somerset West
Has liked: 13 times
Been liked: 58 times

Re: MGL's Sling - impressions after the first two weeks

Unread post by rainier » Mon Jan 23, 2012 9:41 am

Well, have been doing some more flying and more circuits. I love this thing !
Got my X-wind landings sorted now. I'm used to stomping on it in the Jora in those lumpy conditions at Stellenbosch. The Sling - well, do as little as possible. Just a dab of rudder to get the nose more or less in line (don't worry about doing it exactly right - the Sling seems to fix up herself once in ground effect). I think I'm still coming in a little fast at times, need to check that. I'm used to power off approach. Looks like the Sling should be flown power on until just ready to touch. Just a titch of power.

Gave Morning Star airfield a visit on Saturday morning. It had a very narrow tarred runway (now "sadly" widened a bit) so I was using that to see how I would do. The gods where with me so I did not embarrass myself and greased it on. Nice. Good breakfast too. Never mind the well known and appreciated hospitality of the guys at Morning Star. Thanks !

Somehow, naming this aircraft the "Sling" seems a good choice. It fits. Not sure why...

Rainier
Who said the sky is the limit ? I think not.
rainier
1k poster
1k poster
Posts: 1279
Joined: Thu Jul 27, 2006 10:33 am
Location: Somerset West
Has liked: 13 times
Been liked: 58 times

Re: MGL's Sling - impressions after the first two weeks

Unread post by rainier » Thu Jan 26, 2012 9:14 am

Some more flight results for those interested in the flush riveted Sling.

Yesterday I played with cruising speeds at higher weights to see what the effect would be.
This was done at a density altitude of around 3000 ft with all up weight at about 570Kg (vs the 500Kg in the report above).
As expected, speed is down. As near as I can make it, at the 5500 RPM setting (same as in the above report) ASI settles at around 115 knots (perhaps a bit more but let's stay conservative, it was a bit bumpy).
Using these two points (500Kg and 570Kg) as a guide and "joining the dots" I'd think at 600Kg (limit for LSA) we'd probably be at around 112-113 knots or so.

Speeds are indicated - TAS was around 2 knots higher.

Rainier
Who said the sky is the limit ? I think not.
User avatar
savas
Too Tousand
Too Tousand
Posts: 2621
Joined: Mon Aug 29, 2005 5:18 pm
Closest Airfield: FABB
Location: Benoni
Has liked: 3 times
Been liked: 8 times

Re: MGL's Sling - impressions after the first two weeks

Unread post by savas » Wed Oct 02, 2013 5:22 pm

Hi Rainier

How is your sling doing
Just wanted to know whether you can give us a pic of ur panel, with a bit if a write up on everything it does
azemon
Wanna Fly
Posts: 1
Joined: Sun Feb 02, 2014 1:36 pm
Closest Airfield: Avi Suqilla P20
Location: Parker
Has liked: 0
Been liked: 0

Re: MGL's Sling - impressions after the first two weeks

Unread post by azemon » Sun Feb 02, 2014 1:44 pm

Can you tell me what kind of flush rivets that were used??

Thanks,

Andy

Return to “Sling”