Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Madagascar here we come!

 The Airplane Factory and I have worked out provisional dates and routing for our Sling aircraft tour to Madagascar this July (24 Jul - 1 Aug). The 9-day adventure will take us in our 2-seater single engine airplane up the Mozambique coast from Durban to Vilankulos, a 5 hour flight, where we clear customs and immigation into Mozambique for the night. The next morning we fly west over the Mozambique Channel to Toliara International Airport in Madagascar. This is a scary thought, heading out to sea for the 4h 50 min flight over the ocean, bypassing Europa island en route... something I have never done before in a small plane. There should be a group of 4 - 6 aeroplanes flying together each with maritime safety equipment, liferafts etc on board in the event of engine trouble over the sea. 

Our route from Durban over the Mozambique Channel to Madagascar

After landing in Madagascar, we spend another 6 nights touring the east and west coast, taking in the Andasibe National Park, the island Ile St Marie, and Morondava famous for the Avenue of Baobabs.

We return to Vilanjulos again crossing the Mozambique channel. Some of the participating pilots will be coming from Johannesburg and Durban and the tour will be under the umbrella of The Airplane Factory, manufacturers of our fine aircraft based in Johannesburg, and whose directors have successfully completed two trips around the world in their Sling aircraft and two cross-Africa trips to the United States and Europe, proving the handing and endurance capabilities of their totally South African designed and built aircraft.

The "Avenue of Baobabs" near Morondava, Madagascar
Lemurs in the Andasibe National Park, Madagascar


The full itinerary for the trip can be downloaded off my skydrive at this link. Anyone wishing to join us should email me at slingfans@gmail.com although booking decisions for accommodation need to be made now as it is peak season then in Madagascar and Mozambique. Dave 083-7033329

Shorter route

An alternative shorter route for those not wishing to fly the full distances in Madagascar has also been provided for with the pilots of the respective groups meeting at Vilankulos to fly across the Mozambiique Channel together, then separating for a slightly different and shorter route within Madagascar. Enquire if you are interested in this option.

Places we will be staying at include : Vakona Forest Lodge, Andasibe, Zombie Cucumber, Vilankulos, Boraha Village, island Ile St Marie, possibly Le Jardin du Roy, Isalo National Park, Auberge de la Table, Toliara and Pallisandre Cote Ouest, Morondava.

The runway at the hotel Le Jardin du Roy
The runway on the island Ile Sainte Marie, off Madagascar
The Airports we will be landing at can be seen here: (click on the links)

Le Jardin du Roy, Isalo

Boraha Village on the Ile Sainte Marie, Madagascar
Palissandre Cote Ouest hotel, Morondava
Le Jardin du Roy hotel, Isalo National Park
Sling Africa Tour 2014

And if you missed our Sling tour to Botswana and Victoria Falls last year, click on this link to check out the photos and story of this amazing adventure with 6 Sling Aircraft.

A photo I took of Victoria Falls as we flew around it on our tour last year

If you want to read more information on the maritime safety equipment needed, click on the link to the thread below - Sling Madagascar Tour 2015 - and scroll down to read the various previous posts that have been logged here.

Saturday, February 14, 2015


I'm on Airliners.net - thanks Gary for this superb photo which is being broadcast worldwide..

Here's the link http://www.airliners.net/photo/Durban-Skyye-Flight/The-Airplane-Factory/2591773/L/

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

400 hours

This week I passed the 400 hours mark - flying time in my Pilot's logbook!! What an incredible adventure and much more to follow this year.

Recent flight to Margate

Sunday, February 8, 2015


I read the other day that the NTSB accident report of a crash in the USA cited the pilot and passengers taking selfies as the cause of the accident that took both of their lives, so a little more focus (excuse the pun) and less distraction is needed to fly safe. Fortunately my plane has auto-pilot, so one can set the plane to fly straight and level while in selfie-mode. These pics were all taken from the safety of the ground though ha ha

Taking a pic of Trevor

Trevor is responsible for several of the great photos of my aircraft, along with those of Brian Spurr and Gary Shephard.. (see pics in bost below this one) used often in this blog so it was great to be able to take Trevor up into the skyye and take a couple of pics of him for a change, at the controls of ZDL. Trevor is also an avid radio controlled aircraft pilot, so this was his change to fly a bigger plane for a change.

Selfie in the air with Trevor over Durban

Trevor has a steady hand

My Sling ZDL with Trevor

Umhlanga lighthouse and beachfront on a glorious Saturday afternoon

Friday, February 6, 2015


It's great to have photographer friends - here are some great shots of me flying my 2 planes, ZDL and FYA, taken by Trevor Viljoen and Gary Shepherd last week.

Dave takes off from Virginia Airport with Llewellyn

Taking a student for a flight in my flight school Sling FYA

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Sling Madagascar Tour 2015

Ahead of our Sling Madagascar Tour 2015 here's a video clip of a pilot in a Cirrus ditching in the sea.

The Sling Tour will leave Tedderfield Airfield, home of The Airplane Factory later this year, and we will fly up to Vilanculos on the east coast of Mozambique before heading out for the 4 1/2 hour flight over the Mozambique Channel to Toliara International Airport on the west coast of Madagascar. 

The tour group will be well equipped with ELTs (emergency locator trasmitters), life rafts and life jackets in the event of any mishap during the flight over water, but will hopefully not be required. The video clip shows how a safe landing can be made on the sea and the solo pilot was rescued by the USA coast guard. Email me at slingfans@gmail.com to join the tour.

Our Sling ZDL is also equipped with a ballistic parachute such as the one in the photo

Sunday, January 25, 2015


Well the "holidays" are over so there's no been too much time for flying my own plane yet in 2015. The flight school has also been quite demanding with over 300 flights being handled over the December / January period.. not too much my own, but I have the admin behind it all to keep up to date. My own few students have also kept me busy, although the heat of Durban is on us and the best flying time is after 4pm as the sun gets lower.

Getting our flight school aircraft out of the hangar for another flight

My student Bill who has taken up his life-long ambition to fly

Great photo of Durban's Moses Mabhida World Cup Football Stadium on the wingtip of my flight school Sling FYA

Durban city and harbour en route seawards of the Bluff to the Virginia General Flying area inland of Amanzimtoti

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Some airtime

We're having a great flying season at the flight school and I broke my record of 5 hours instruction in one day with my student Federico, training towards his NPL (LSA) licence in our Sling FYA. The flight school is open every day, including New Year's day, and bookings can be made if you check our website.

Friday, December 5, 2014

New Zealand by air

I have just returned from an incredible but short week-visit to New Zealand, and one of the highlights was being able to fly a Cessna 172 around Waiheke Island, where we were staying, with the local air charter company.

Thanks James for letting me take control, although for a short time as I was behaving like a happy snapper with the beautiful landscape of the island below.

Waiheke Island is the largest island off the coast of Auckland within the Hauraki Gulf. The weather changes every 10 minutes there and here we were approaching a rainshower before continuing to the right around the island.

With the numerous bays and coves and hundreds of islands, New Zealand has more coastline that the United States of America

Sheep, sheep, as far as the eye can see

This was the rich end of the island with magnificent estates and homesteads

Durban Skyye Flight School with the Cessna 172 at the private airfield on Waiheke Island