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deckofficer

Sport Pilot License AND Glider License with self launch endorsement

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deckofficer    11
deckofficer

My purpose is to fly without the restrictions of a Sport Pilot license but never have to worry my aging body not passing the medical. It appears the Pipistrel Sinus Flex with quick change wing tips might facilitate this concept. At the 40' wingspan it is a SLA and as such a Sport Pilot can fly it with all the SP restrictions such as <10,000', 120 kt max, no night flying, and no flying to Canada or Mexico. Put on the long tips for a 50' wing span and it is a self launch glider that can be operated by a pilot with a Glider license and self launch endorsement. No more SP limitations and still no medical required. Is this doable as far as the FAA is concerned? 

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deckofficer    11
deckofficer

I have a big question for the group here and that is how does a representative of the FAA conduct a ramp inspection on a motor glider? On another forum a owner of a Pipistrel Virus SW with the 35' 1.25" wing span has registered his new plane as a  Glider - Experimental Exhibition in the hopes that should he reach a point of no longer being able to pass his medical he could continue flying on a glider license with self launch endorsement.

 

It is my understanding that the criteria for a plane to be a motor glider is based on the square of the wing span divided by the weight and this figure must be 0.62 or less. First question, is this based on take off weight? If so, then for a plane with a 35' 1.25" wing span would only allow 770 lbs for take off. For a true motor glider like the Pipistrel Sinus with its 49' 1.25" wing span, then MTOW under this formula would be 1500 lbs, but since the MTOW rating on this motor glider is 1290 lbs, that would be the limit.

 

So, is this other pilot fooling himself believing that since he was able to register his 35' 1.25" wing span as a  Glider - Experimental Exhibition, he would be able to fly it legally without a PPL and on a Glider with self launch license?  

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Steve Sliwa    13
Steve Sliwa

Good question.  It certainly seems like a gray area for the FAA.  If they allowed the plane to be registered in that class, he has plausible case for any ramp check on his pilot certificate.  I think the likely issue would be if he knowingly certified the plane in way different than his intended use.

My dad lost his medical and started flying a Grob 109B.  As we dug into the situation we became less concerned with what the FAA thought during a ramp check and more concerned what the insurance companies and the courts would think if there was an incident/accident.  Since glider pilots have to self-certify that they are medically safe to pilot a glider, a pilot may reasonably be expected to demonstrate due care in such a self-certification.  In my dad's case he got a letter from his persona physician every year that he was medically safe to drive and fly.  This seems somewhat prescient since the current proposed retooling of the 3rd class medical is trending it toward driver's license type rules.

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deckofficer    11
deckofficer

Thanks for the reply. The Pipistrel Virus SW does have a 17 to 1 glide ratio. This is of interest to me because this plane fits my mission to a Tee, fast and very efficient, having won the NASA challenge two years running. There just isn't any other offering that will cruise at 75% at 133 kt on a 80 hp engine sipping 3.5 gph. Not to mention a Vne 163 kt and Vb (turbulence) of 135 kt. My question is what determines a motor glider? I thought it was wing span squared divided by weight must be 0.62 or less. On the weight, I don't know if that is empty, MTOW, or operational? For a ramp check, does the FAA measure wing span and weigh the aircraft?

 

The idea of owning this aircraft with its capabilities and not being hobbled by SLA and Sport Pilot limitations and not requiring a medical is like a dream come true, but I want to do it right. 

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deckofficer    11
deckofficer
12 hours ago, Webmaster said:

Check out the posting in this forum I just made regarding FAA Airman Medical Reform.  It's looking pretty good.  

Link:  http://www.motorgliders.org/forums/topic/530-latest-news-on-faa-medical-reform-from-aopa/

Thanks for the link, I read it and it appears to be good news. I have seen too many planes sold with the comment "lost my medical", and that is why I'm considering the motor glider route.

 

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Steve Sliwa    13
Steve Sliwa

Check-out the material that AirUSA posted in their ad about the SunDancer.  It includes an interesting description of how different pilot ratings could be applied:

 

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airusa    14
airusa
On ‎12‎/‎2‎/‎2015 at 11:46 AM, deckofficer said:

Thanks for the reply. The Pipistrel Virus SW does have a 17 to 1 glide ratio. This is of interest to me because this plane fits my mission to a Tee, fast and very efficient, having won the NASA challenge two years running. There just isn't any other offering that will cruise at 75% at 133 kt on a 80 hp engine sipping 3.5 gph. Not to mention a Vne 163 kt and Vb (turbulence) of 135 kt. My question is what determines a motor glider? I thought it was wing span squared divided by weight must be 0.62 or less. On the weight, I don't know if that is empty, MTOW, or operational? For a ramp check, does the FAA measure wing span and weigh the aircraft?

 

The idea of owning this aircraft with its capabilities and not being hobbled by SLA and Sport Pilot limitations and not requiring a medical is like a dream come true, but I want to do it right. 

To my knowledge there is no formula to determine what a glider is except for a Standard Category aircraft receiving a CofA. Like aN Ask 21, Grob 103, 109 etc. There is an applicable formula for those gliders.  For Light Sport Glider gliders no.  The question is not ever addressed from the FAA at the time of obtaining a CofA.  In the case of a Samba XXL, it looks like and airplane, it flies like and airplane, the propeller feathers like a glider, glide ratio is 18:1 and it has a CofA, Special Light Sport-Glider.  The glider rules apply.  I suppose you could do the same with an F-150,  Ford Pickup that is. As long as the paperwork is filled out properly.

Joe Kulbeth AIRUSA

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airusa    14
airusa
On ‎12‎/‎16‎/‎2015 at 10:24 AM, deckofficer said:

 

There are more reasons than the lack of a medical to go motor glider. It is a hell-of-a-lot-of-fun,  and challenging. 

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deckofficer    11
deckofficer

I agree, during my hang gliding days during the learning curve it was launch in calm conditions, then a sled run at minimum sink to the LZ. With experience came launching into something other than sink conditions and the first lift was quite satisfying, even though it would be a lot more launches before coring those columns of rising warm air.  

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Steve Sliwa    13
Steve Sliwa

Hi @deckofficer

I merged the topic from the Aeronautica Q&A forum and this one so that you can easily track all of the responses.

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Steve Sliwa    13
Steve Sliwa
On 12/1/2015 at 10:55 AM, deckofficer said:

I have a big question for the group here and that is how does a representative of the FAA conduct a ramp inspection on a motor glider?

I am very confident that ramp check consists of making sure you have the correct documents, not making sure the documents are correct.  The idea that the FAA would start doing some calculations on the ramp is hard to imagine.

However, the real issue comes if you have an incident, accident, or violate some other rule.  In that case, the FAA will do field work and analyze the data from their offices.  I think that insurance will be the tipping point if you have an accident. Insurance generally requires you to follow the FARs and if you don't it limits what they have to pay.

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Ollie    11
Ollie

United States Department of Transportation, Federal Aviation Administration
Advisory Circular AC 21-17a, dated 10 February 1993

 
7. ACCEPTABLE CRITERIA.
   b. Additional Criteria for Powered Gliders.
    (1) Powered fixed wing gliders may be type certificated under Section 21.17(b) if:
      (i) The number of occupants does not exceed two;
      (ii) Maximum weight does not exceed 850 kg (1874 pounds); and
      (iii) The maximum weight to wing span squared (w/b2) does not exceed 3.0 kg/M2 (0.62 lb./ft.2).
NOTE: These criteria originated from JAR-22.



Joint Aviation Authorities
JAR-22 Amendment 7, dated 1 September 2003

 
JAR 22.1 Applicability
(a) This JAR-22 prescribes minimum airworthiness standards for the issue of type certificates, and changes to those certificates, for sailplanes and powered sailplanes in the utility U and aerobatic A categories:-
(1)    Sailplanes the maximum weight of which does not exceed 750 kg:
(2)    Single engine (spark- or compression-ignition) powered sailplanes the design value W/b2 (weight to span2) of which is not greater than 3(W[kg], b[m]) and the maximum weight of which does not exceed 850 kg: and
(3)    Sailplanes and powered sailplanes the number of occupants of which does not exceed two.
 

Hope this is up to date. We recently fell foul of the South African Civil Aviation Authority when using the max weight to wing span squared rule suddenly withdrew the RF4 from the motor glider category for those flying it on a glider pilots licence with motor glider endorsement. We now fell within the LSA category. While the reesst of the world appears to be attempting to relax regulation around light sports aviation RSA appears to be doing the opposite!

Safe flying to all.

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BL    0
BL

Advisory Circulars are advisory, and not binding nor regulatory.

"This advisory circular (AC) provides information and guidance concerning acceptable means, but not the only means, of showing compliance with § 21.17(b) of part 21 of the Federal Aviation Regulations (FAR) for type certification of gliders and powered gliders.  Accordingly, this material is neither mandatory nor regulatory in nature and does not constitute a regulation. General guidance relative to glider type certification is also provided."

If you do some digging online, you will find some startling facts with regard to this topic (as it applies to the USA).

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