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Touring Motor Gliders Association (TMGA)

New member, long time without an air fix

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Hi all,

My name is Bob and I live near Placerville, CA. It has been way too long since I last flew, like 30 years. I used to fly a Seagull Seahawk 200 hang glider and was a student pilot with 12 hours solo. Company I worked for back then was paying for my lessons but went bankrupt before I finished, so without a paycheck the GA flying came to an end.


Now I'm retired and would like to get back to flying. At first I thought the Light Sport license might be the way to go, but still have a keen interest in soaring (quiet, peaceful). Also on a fixed retirement income with 100LL at $6 a gallon and going up, may not be able to get all the hours I would like each year. Even gave thought to a diesel LSA and bulk purchase of red dye diesel, but even though that would make hourly costs more affordable it wouldn't address my desire to soar and thermal.

A draw back to the Sport license is the 10,000 ft alt limitations and not being able to fly to Canada, Alaska, or Mexico. There are many other limitations but I could live with those.

What has my interest is the Pip Sinus and going with a Glider Pilot license with a self launch endorsement. Big question, will this license give me basically PPL privileges in the Sinus?

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The US Phoenix dealer has responded to recent discussion about this subject. Below see copy of Jim Lee's clarification of the issue.

welcome to the group,

Dave Glosser

What the FAA and what the insurance company require are often two different things. Just because it is FAA legal does not mean that it meets an insurance company requirements. I can quote FAA requirements but I cannot speak for the insurance companies.

The LSA GL2 proficiency check requires two glider instructors. One does the training, the other one does the exam and sign off with the 8710 form mailed to the FAA. This is not any shortcut to the regular exam administered by the FAA DPE which gets the full glider rating without any limitations. With the proficiency check, a private airplane pilot with a medical would then be flying as a sport pilot with the limitations because he is not a private glider rated pilot. A private airplane pilot without a medical is also flying as a sport pilot with the limitations. So the only way to fly the Phoenix without altitude or night restrictions is with a private glider rating and 3 hours of night training in a single engine airplane. Having an airplane rating does not substitute for the self-launch endorsement. So to be clear, the glider rated pilot without the airplane night training cannot fly at night. According to the FAR's, the only way to get night training is to have 3 hours of training at night in an airplane with a CFI. Specifically, 3 hours of night flight training in a single engine airplane, that includes at least:

a) 1 cross country flight of over 100 nm total distance; and

B) 10 T/O’s and 10 landings to a full stop with each involving a flight in the traffic pattern at an airport.

So bottom line, as a CFI/CFIG I can train a glider pilot at night in an airplane in order to get the night training, but I cannot train him at night in the Phoenix (a glider) in order to meet the requirement.

A glider rated pilot with more than 37hours logged in a glider can get his airplane rating with an additional 3 hours of instruction in an airplane. Specific requirements are:

3 hours of cross country training in an airplane

3 hours of night training in an airplane

3 hours of simulated instrument training in an airplane.

All other requirements reference training in an aircraft. (Gliders included).

Interestingly, I had a commercial glider rated student named James Trujillo who wanted his airplane rating before he went into the army to fly helicopters. We flew a Diamond DA 20, possibly the most glider-like airplane out there (with a Rotax engine!), and he flew under the hood, cross country, at night to combine all 3 at the same time. I asked the DPE if we could do this and he said yes, but he had better be good. He was. (JT also blew his army helicopter instructors away because he knew how to use his feet!).

Now we are clear as mud, right?


Jim Lee Lee Aviation, LLC 536 Coconut Street Satellite Beach, FL 32937 352-250-5644 (cell) www.phoenixairusa.com

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If I were living out west I would think the altitude restrictions of LSA would be the deciding factor for me. I like to cruise high (16,500'/17,500') in desert areas to get above the thermal chop (not to mention the tiger country) when I'm traveling in my Ximango. It's not all that uncommon, mostly in drought years, that we'll see bases above 10,000' msl here in the east, not to mention wave flying in the fall, spring and winter generally being well above 10,000 msl. Of course you'll have to get your glider rating and a self launch endorsement, but you only have to do it once and both are very easy to accomplish.

-- Tiger_Country.JPG

--B -- -- ---- --

Edited by Thermalseeker

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Thanks for the reply and good suggestion. In the year's time of your post I lost track of the forum's address change. In that time I came to the same conclusion that a glider license with self launch is the best way to go for the privileges of a PPL without the medical. Plus I want to fly Mexico and Canada and couldn't do that on a Sport Pilot license. The only drawback is the wingspan and finding a hangar. Someone on another forum registered his new Pipistrel Virus SW with a 35' 1.25" wing span as a motor glider and the performance of that plane is amazing. I always thought that to be considered a motor glider the square of the wing span divided by weight had to be 0.62 or less. I'm currently trying to research this and have found others with the SW have done the same thing. Could it be empty weight that formula is based on? 

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