Don't Let Plain White Wrapper Deceive You
by ANN Correspondent Jeremy King
Maybe it's just the overall white finish with no real flashy
trim, but this beast looks like an Extra and Nemesis may have been
fooling around while nobody watched at one of last year's fly-ins.
Its salesmen unabashedly say the airplane's lines come from the
Extra 230 and the Laser.
The Slick 540 certainly fits the bill. Designed and built with
input from South African champion aerobatic pilot Glen Dell, the
prototype crossed an ocean to get here -- in a container. Once
assembled, Jason Newburg winged his way to Oshkosh.
The Slick is an all-composite design and a true 10-G airplane...
and while the airplane can take the stress, the pilot doesn't have
"In the Slick 540, the pilot is so close to the center of
gravity, it cuts down on getting thrown around in high energy
maneuvers, unlike the Extra or the Edge," Newburg said.
Some pilots familiar with the Slick-360 design asked whether the
plane was simply a 360 with a big engine. No, it's a little more
complex, Newburg replied as he gave a tour of the airplane. "The
designers moved the firewall back as far as they could – even
angling it around the Magnetos to get a few extra inches."
The powerplant is a modified Lycoming IO-540, pumping out 294
The result: A lean, mean flying machine. George would be proud.
Slick advertises stress tolerances of +/- 10g and a flutter study
showed the initial design was flutter-free to 500 knots, so
designers reduced the amount of counterweight a bit and moved on.
The design's redline is set at 260 MPH – and with such
horsepower the airplane might give the leading Red Bull Air Race
pilots a run for their money.
One huge advantage of the all-composite construction is the
spacious cockpit, a rarity in the competitive aerobatic ships. With
no steel bars intruding where a pilot should be, there's room for
plus sized pilots.
"Right now, we've got the seat pan configured for a largest-case
pilot," Newburg said. "Pilots are using cushions to move up in the
cockpit where they should be."
And with their eyes up high in the cockpit, the visibility is
excellent. "I can see over the nose," Newburg said.
That feature plays dividends for air show performers when they
have to taxi near spectator areas -- because propellers and
spectators don't mix.
This kind of performance comes with a price tag of $265,000 but
the first four delivery positions will sell for $255,000.