Change In Route Has Trip Tied Up In Red Tape
In a saga with undertones of "the best laid plans" ... an
'Around The World' attempt being undertaken by the manufactures of
the Sling 4, a four-place airplane born out of the South African
Sling LSA, have become bogged down in some red tape in ... Los
The Airplane Factory, based in Johannesburg, South Africa, is
making the attempt to show off its latest airplane. After a long
flight from Hawaii, they arrived in southern California late last
week, and had planned to continue their journey Tuesday morning.
But a late change in route raised some concerns on the part of the
FAA, and so as of Wednesday, they were still on the ground.
The team determined that a more southern route would be a better
bet than heading across North America (and the U.S.) before the
final ocean crossing back to the African continent ... a decision
reportedly made after an arm-wrestling contest. "So now it's Baja
then Acapulco (Mexico), San Jose (Costa Rica), Bogota (Columbia),
Manaus, Rio and Recife (Brazil), Accra (Ghana), Pointe Noire
(Republic of Congo) and Johannesburg (South Africa)," company
co-founder and pilot James Pitman wote on The Airplane Factory
blog. "Mike (Blyth, the other co-founder) reckoned the southern
route has better weather but Jean's not going to Brazil without
seeing Rio de Janeiro. Hhhmmmm. Unfortunately Jean (d'Assonville,
the other pilot) got the better of Mike on the arm wrestle that
resolved that little route planning difference, so they'll be able
to send us shots of sugar loaf mountain in the next few days."
Sling 4 Circumnavigation New Route
But they had difficulty getting permission to leave the U.S.
"OK, my turn to deal with the bureaucracy … although we made
application to fly from Torrance to Brown Field where we would exit
the USA into Mexico the powers that be seemed to miss that part and
issued us flight authorization but not to Brown Field," Blyth wrote
Tuesday. "We were fueled and loaded up, flight plan about to be
filed, customs paperwork for the flight already submitted …
when the FAA called and said, sorry, you can't go - do a new
application. Maybe they got confused because of our change of route
…So, sorry to say, but our departure is delayed until
tomorrow (Wednesday). Mike."
As of Wednesday morning, the team was still having difficulty
getting its authorization, but was hoping to be able to depart at
some point during the day.