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Why the lack of participation


xintersecty
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All I joined about a year ago to start researching the possibilities of buying a motor glider.  Steve Sliwa has put a lot of personal effort (cash too) in keeping this group together and working.  Thanks Steve!

So who is on the TMGA group, and why do you think there is a lack of participation?  

Covid?

Financial Change? (covid again)

Not enough users, to warrant such a group?

Has Facebook replaced this group?

brian

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Brian,

  I am new to this group but - like all pilots I have an opinion and am not afraid to share it.   The target audience for this group is quite small.  So the participation is also small.  I hope to be an active member of this group.

 

Mike Turner

ATP, CFI, CFII, CFIG

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On 2/18/2022 at 5:29 AM, xintersecty said:

All I joined about a year ago to start researching the possibilities of buying a motor glider.  Steve Sliwa has put a lot of personal effort (cash too) in keeping this group together and working.  Thanks Steve!

So who is on the TMGA group, and why do you think there is a lack of participation?  

Covid?

Financial Change? (covid again)

Not enough users, to warrant such a group?

Has Facebook replaced this group?

brian


i know of a few including myself that Have sold their motorglider and moved on or quit flying all together. Five of us had motorgliders and now don’t, it’s a small group to begin  with and we  don’t see many new entrants.  Diamond Aircraft stopped producing their MG all together.  The entire pilot population is small, glider pilot population is a tiny fraction of that and the motor glider population is another tiny fraction.  It’s a very small group, the majority of glider pilots like pure gliders and many  even race gliders but we are just recreational.  

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I modeled the website after the very active COPA website (Cirrus Owners and Pilot's Association).  I think I accomplished 90% of the feature set with a few enhancements.  I understand they paid their technology vendor six figures to implement theirs and I am not sure about the maintenance.

One issue:  We couldn't get any active moderators to help keep conversations moving along.  I was busy on the backend and couldn't provide that service.

Another issue I noticed is that many of our 'members' were not comfortable with forum technology.  They really like email distribution lists rather than a website to which one needs to log in.  Many many times I got emails from members replying to the email notifications that there is a post of interest.  They forgot they needed to log into the site to manage their information.  I added written and video tutorials when launching the website to try and get people over the technology hump.  That didn't seem to work.

People might prefer Facebook or the equivalent Google group.  I don't do Facebook anymore as I can't support their business model (they consistently choose profit over the interests of their subscribers).

Just for calibration:  We have 1200 people who have registered.  I thinned accounts a bit and we are at 1000.  I think the number who have ever posted in a forum is something like 180.

 

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Hi Steve,

  I'm a recently interested motor glider enthusiast. I came across this motor glider certificate option only recently and see it as an affordable way to get into flying. What got me here (to your website) was an effort to figure out a way to find out who in my local area (Indian River County Fl.) might have a motor glider. Perhaps someone that's even qualified to help me get the certifications required to become a motor glider pilot. (The closest flight school to me for that cert is a 2 1/2 hour drive Northwest of me). What I've been reading around the web is that many of these "planes" are sitting in hangers underutilized. I thought it could be a win-win arrangement if I found a CFI-G certified owner who, for a fee of course, would train me and perhaps even let me share the costs of keeping the glider airworthy and flying more. Just getting a cert from the flight school isn't of much use if you don't have a plane to fly the matches your cert. Here in Florida we have a number of air parks (aerodromes), and fly-in communities where residents aren't as active as they once were. However, finding the motor glider owner amongst them is like finding a needle in a haystack. I invite any advise (or corrections on my train of thought) that you all could give me. Thanks for whatever attention you can afford me in my quest.

 

Steven Burritt 

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Glider pilots are most definitely a tiny group compared with ASEL drivers.  Some I'm sure fly gliders because they can't get a medical certificate.  I first soloed a glider in 1977, but switched to "The Dark Side" in 1978 to earn an ASEL as paying for glider, instructor AND tows cost more than learning to drive a Cessna.  The development of modern motor gliders have evened out training costs, but remain pretty much unavailable to rent, so for those who can't afford/don't want to own any kind of aircraft but do want to fly must pretty much choose between joining a glider club or flying a powered airplane.

For Steve Burritt, Rand Vollmer, the Pipistrel dealer in Florida (Zephyr Hills) is a CFI-G, and Right Rudder Aviation in Inverness FL offers training to Private Pilot Glider for $2,999.  I do not know whether or not they have a motor glider to rent.  Be aware there is no "Motor Glider" certificate per se.  Your choices include a Glider Certificate at the Recreational, Sport or Private Pilot levels, each with endorsements for the type of launch: Aerotow, Ground Launch or Self Launch.  For a motor glider you need a self-launch logbook endorsement.

As far as "lack of participation" is concerned, you need to ask specific questions.  Steve Sliwa is running this site at his own expense (thank you Steve) and it's not a motor glider Wikipedia which you can browse to find answers to questions you haven't even thought of yet.  If you have a question about a specific make and model which is owned by a member of the group, I think most are willing to answer questions.  I for example own a Pipistrel Sinus Flex and am reasonably familiar with the Pipistrel models and with carbureted Rotax engines, but I know very little about the other motor gliders out there. 

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Mr. Burritt: Pipistrel, in one form or another, is probably the best bet for finding a commercial style MG operation. Rand Volmer is quite an enthusiast and also quite chatty so don't hesitate to give him a call for advice. The 50m span versions are the most glider-like, with the Virus and especially the SW, while can be registered as "gliders" are much less so. Have you even taken a "Discovery Flight" in a TMG? That would be a good first step. No way, unless you're very lucky, will flying a TMG be as convenient as getting a rating in a standard aircraft would be. The cost/convenience factor would likely be better training for a Sport Pilot license in a LSA. Personally, while I might consider a partnership with a low time pilot, there's no way I'd "rent" my rather delicate and expensive TMG to a new student, not to mention such an arrangement would be of questionable legality. A few, very few, soaring clubs, including mine here in Michigan, have a MG in their fleet. Our Scheibe SF-25 rents for $50/hour, wet. The Soaring Society of America website may give leads in this regard.

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xintersecty: I share your pain. The number of licensed pilots with a glider rating is small, the number of active glider pilots, smaller, and active flyers of TMG's, tiny. (Self-launching gliders not capable of touring, are, on the other hand, becoming more popular ... if  you have $150k - $350k to spend). Perhaps a certain amount of enthusiasm would compensate to a degree, but seems to not be happening here, especially after the Phoenix owners vanished. It's a bit of a struggle to work in a vacuum, for sure.

OTOH, I love being able to fly places with ease as well as go soaring on a random afternoon without a whole launch crew as required by a conventional sailplane. Too, it's kinda fun to fly out to for a $100 hamburger and be immediately surrounded by curious pilots and bystanders upon landing. But no one ever expects that having a beautiful mistress would be convenient ...

image.thumb.png.5fb414af0ddfef61c29ee30684d76ce9.png

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  • 3 weeks later...

Everybody!  Thank you with your replies.  Here is a summary: Very small group and not an email list.  Personally, I think touring motogliders are the way to go for the future of flying as they have the best economy, good over land speeds, and easy to fly compared to Cessna.  Now we just need to have affordable motorgliders. 

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 3/16/2022 at 2:27 PM, xintersecty said:

Everybody!  Thank you with your replies.  Here is a summary: Very small group and not an email list.  Personally, I think touring motogliders are the way to go for the future of flying as they have the best economy, good over land speeds, and easy to fly compared to Cessna.  Now we just need to have affordable motorgliders. 

I'm hoping Avgas goes to $10/gallon and thereby doubles the resale value on my Ximango. <wink>

While retaining an enthusiasm for TMG's, my summary is someone different than yours. Easier to fly than a Cessna? No way (which is why I didn't buy a Cessna). Taildragger TMG's have the usual challenges on the ground as regular airplanes. *But* their long span limits S-turning for visibility because of very limited clearance to obstacles like taxiway lights, signs and such. There are airports that I can land on, but don't have the room to taxi on. Efficient compared to anything from Wichita? Yes. But a good long glider wing and airfoil is optimized for 50-80 kt; faster than that, it's too much wing. That is, as speed increases, it really wants to climb. To counteract that, one trims ever more nose down, essentially adding weight, hence drag. Also, if so equipped, the reverse camber on the bottom of the wing causes the fast air to break away, also adding drag. Sleek LSAs like the Virus or Virus SW with their shorter spans do better at a fast cruise.

Every aircraft is an exercise in compromise. TMGs are no exception and probably will remain for most a dessert rather than a main course.

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I flew my AMT-200S on Friday and my HK36TC-100 on Monday. And since JET-A is $9.98 at KFLG I'm feeling pretty good about having sold my MD-500E and my PA-46-500TP.

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In the process of buying a phoenix. Very difficult to find insurance especially since I only have 300 hrs (35 glider). Also trying to put it in a lease program. I have the perfect instructor. Just looking for insurance for a group.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 4/7/2022 at 8:00 PM, Foley said:

In the process of buying a phoenix. Very difficult to find insurance especially since I only have 300 hrs (35 glider). Also trying to put it in a lease program. I have the perfect instructor. Just looking for insurance for a group.

Any luck on buying insurance?

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  • 3 months later...
  • 5 weeks later...
On 8/7/2022 at 3:35 PM, Dave McConeghey said:

Foley posted “Costello just insured my phoenix rental for $7500.”

Which hints at the difficult economics of renting a TMG. In the good-weather season, some of our local GA training fleet are doing ~100 hours per month. Trying to rent a Ximango, I doubt if Zone Aviation near Cleveland accumulated even 100 hours for the entire period with theirs, but did mange to get a gear-up landing out of the deal. Much/most of present training activity now is related to students aiming for an ATP and the required 1,500 hours PIC. TMG flying doesn't help in that regard. As a glider, it doesn't even help for what the FAA regards as tail wheel time. The few commercially-successful such operations of which I'm aware, are in pretty locations and depend largely on giving rides ... https://www.palmstopinesgliding.com/

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