My name is Richard Howell – a retired software engineer living on the Olympic Peninsula in Pacific Northwest – Sequim, Washington USA. I’m a private pilot (ASEL Apr 2001) and earned my certificate at and in the busy Class C environment of John Wayne Airport (KSNA) in Southern California. Since August of 2002 I have owned flown and my Piper Warrior II (PA-28-161). As of early November 2018, home base is William R. Fairchild International Airport (KCLM) in Port Angeles.

This blog is about sharing of ongoing experiences related to my amateur building of an experimental Sling 2 (E/A-B) aircraft. This is something I’ve dreamed about for decades. As a member of EAA and local Chapter 430 Olympic Peninsula, I’m already enjoying and learning from the active community of enthusiasts and more experienced builders.

For me, the Sling 2 was love at first sight. One day, a beautiful new airplane began parking a few places away from my Warrior. It turned out to be a Sling 2. I was impressed that Sling 2 is all aluminum and the size seemed just right. Coincidentally, I stumbled across a few magazine articles, reading about how a Sling 2 flies. I just happened to see a documentary – with the effervescent James Pittman – about building a Sling aircraft in a week. I was a snowball rolling downhill.

It took a couple of years, but I found the opportunity to retire a bit early and was able to embrace my dear wife’s fervent desire to pick up sticks and move to Sequim. She has infectious enthusiasm and encouragement for my new occupation. When I get distracted, she often reminds me – you’re supposed to be building an airplane.

Jumping In

In the spring of 2019 my wife and I started building a workshop at our home. If I’m to build an airplane, then I need a place to do it. In early July, I went to Torrance, took a demo flight in a Sling 2 and pushed the button. The ball was rolling. By August, the tail kit arrived. In February of 2020 the quick build kit arrived at my workshop in its own sea transport shipping container – having sailed all the way from South Africa.


My plate was full and the build was in progress. The engine and instrument panel, with avionics arrived in early 2021. Building is fun and challenging. You’ve got to identify tasks, figure out how best to do them and then get them done. Keep going. I stayed busy in my shop and things came together steadily.

Turning a Page

Even though it was difficult, I summoned the resolve to part with my flying machine in June of 2022. The timing was a little ahead of schedule, but the sale opportunity presented itself neatly. It wasn’t ever going to be any easier. Done.

Keep the Ball Rolling

By August of 2022 I had to arrange for painting and get the airframe ready. It was a bit of a miracle that my project was accepted by Port Townsend Aero Museum. The airframe pieces – wings, fuselage and tail feathers – needed to be trailered with multiple trips. It all went well. Thank goodness for helpful friends! It took until mid November, but now the project was ready for final assembly at my hangar in Port Angeles. The paintwork is magnificent – truly the icing on the cake!

Across the Finish Line

It took almost a year from the time I sold the Warrior to complete my Sling 2 kit. Frankly, that period was longer than I anticipated. It’s all in the details. But eventually, on a beautiful Saturday morning in June of 2023, my Designated Airworthiness Representative (DAR) examined the thing and saw fit to present me with the Special Airworthiness Certificate (AWC) and Operating Limitations for N842RH. Now she’s an airplane.

Into the Wild Blue Yonder

First flight came 2 days after receiving the AWC. Fresh from my Sling 2 transition training at Sling Pilot Academy, my brand new airplane felt immediately familiar. From June to September of 2023, 40 hours of Phase I flight testing went along without significant issues. I added a little more pitch to the propeller, snugged up clamps on the exhaust system, added a small aileron trim-tab, changed the oil and continued with careful inspections. Flight data was collected as I put the plane through its test program. All good.

The Adventure Continues

Being able to roll your own aircraft out of her snug hangar and take to the sky whenever you want, is indescribably wonderful. It’s a rare privilege, to be sure. If you ever happen to find that you have the chance to do likewise – jump on it!