Brad has a had a life long connection to aviation, starting with childhood aircraft models through to general aviation today.
Brad joins Alex as the New Zealand Sling aircraft distributor.
Due to political changes in the early 2000's Brad's plans to fly for the New Zealand airforce were scrapped and he started what has become a highly successful career as a director/owner within the tech industry.
Time outside of work was taken up with motorsports and related mechanical project, along with a love of hunting across the New Zealand landscape.
Aircraft were never far away however, and he is currently a NZ PPL holder with a Sling TSI under construction alongside a TigerMoth restoration project being performed jointly with Alex.
Alex has had a long standing connection with aviation spending a lot of his time working with and around vintage and general aircraft.
Alongside Brad, Alex is proud to be the Sling aircraft distributor in NZ
Alex caught the aviation bug at a young age, growing up on a farm in the Manawatu spending hours watching the local topdressing pilot.
Having had his first flight lesson on his 11th birthday, he then went solo on his 16th birthday. Out of school he spent 3 years working for an aircraft and helicopter engineering company, and when an opportunity came up to work for the local topdressing company he jumped on it and drove a loader truck for 5 years.
Alex now works as a farm machinery salesman in the lower north island. Alongside Brad he is fulfilling his love of aviation by building a Sling TSI and a ground up restoration on their De Havilland DH.82 Tiger Moth.
Mike’s earliest connection to aviation come from his father, who flew in the RAF. An early childhood fascination with flying was given expression when in 1984 Mike took a short flight in a Quicksilver ultralight, “I immediately realized I had found my calling.” He began sketching again and a few years later made and flew his first aircraft, a two-seat ultralight.
Mike, a well-known figure in aviation circles before developing the Sling, won the 1995 Microlight World Championships on a prototype trike that had just four hours of flight time. “I am not sure what gets into my head, but I have made a habit of flying my prototypes over long distances after just a few hours of testing.” One such trip involved a record-breaking 45,000km cross-continental flight on a weight-shifting trike.
By 2005, Mike was eager to test his design skills on something more substantial. “I made a list of features I would like to see in my perfect aircraft. On doing some research, I was surprised that I couldn’t find a Light Sport Aircraft that had all the features in it that I considered important.” As South Africa’s distributor for Rotax, Mike was keen to design an aircraft that would do justice to these famously reliable and efficient engines. He teamed up with an aeronautical engineer, an aerodynamicist and a draftsman and by 2008 they had developed a prototype.
James Pitman studied science and law at the University of Cape Town before deciding on following the legal route. If law paid the bills, adventure animated the soul. James was something of a legend in South African adventure circles, with some serious mountaineering challenges under his belt.
In 2006 he joined up with Mike Blyth and Marianne Schwankhart for a flying (microlight) and rock-climbing trip around southern Africa. This trip was turned into a movie, No Need for Parking – An African Rock Adventure.
From there the idea to team up with Mike on an around-the-world adventure took root. Almost by accident, James – a lawyer, businessman and adventurer – was building an aircraft. He realised that his very eventful life had been working up to this moment. His keen intellect and very sharp scientific brain meant he could add serious value to building the Sling LSA prototype. His irrepressible energy and crazy enthusiasm helped fuel Mike’s vision of the ideal LSA. They made great partners. They achieved their goal of flying the Sling around the world. James, whose love of flying is palpable, sunk his savings into Sling Aircraft and spent the first seven years in the business giving life and soul to creating an aircraft brand of lasting value.
Also growing up on a farm in the Midlands of Natal, Andrew, early on, developed a love for traveling, the outdoors and speed, often being found stripping a 2-stroke dirt bike, only to see if it would go faster once put back together. After attending Michaelhouse boarding school for a fairly rebellious five years, Andrew graduated from Cape Town Varsity College in 2002 with an IMM diploma in International Business Management and Marketing.
He moved to London the following year, and joined Addison Corporate Marketing as an Account Executive and later Account Manager. Andrew provided support to the investor relations teams of various clients, including Anglo American, Vodafone, The Premier League, Visa and WPP.
With six years’ experience in corporate financial communications, Andrew left the UK and returned to South Africa to join Sling Aircraft. He started as the tea boy and book keeper, later becoming sales and marketing manager. Having developed a passion for business, flying and adventure, Andrew now heads up Sling Aircraft. He oversees Sales, Marketing, New Business Development, Finance and Operations both locally and internationally, and is the Accountable Manager of the company.