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Touring Motor Gliders Association (TMGA)
DucFanDan

New guy - Introduction

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DucFanDan

Hello all,

I was pointed to the world of motorgliders by a taildragger pilot on a Facebook group who owns a Ximango, if I recall correctly. I have a history with cancer that is keeping me limited to light sport or gliders. That's actually not all bad for me, as I work in aerospace and fly for fun... light sport and gliding are certainly on the "fun flying" side of the spectrum, so it works out.

I neared completion of my light sport certificate before a cancer recurrence that needed surgery grounded me temporarily. Now that I'm done with follow-up chemo, looking to get back in the air this spring. Will be wrapping up my light sport license hopefully within the next six months (sooner if the weather cooperates).

Light sport is fun in airplanes like the J3 Cub I soloed in, but at 6'4" tall and 225-235lbs (it varies), an original Cub is only comfortable for short flights. The one time I was up in it for 2 hours, the "unfolding" process took a while.

The aforementioned user on the Facebook taildragger group mentioned this site as a good resource, and suggested looking into motorgliders both for their own unique fun, and fewer limitations with no medical if one has a glider license with the self-launch endorsement. He also suggested that some of them might not be as compromised with regard to payload capacity and MGTOW vs light sport. Finding a light sport I can legally haul myself and my dad or one of my brothers or my father-in-law up in is difficult at best. We're all big guys. 6'2" at a minimum and all 200 lbs to 250 lbs. Anyway...

My dad and I have always admired motorgliders. We talked about them at just about every air show I attended as a kid. Really seem like the best of all worlds. You can travel, you can sightsee, you can dink around locally looking for thermals... all with a minimum of fuel and a whole lot of range in the event of an engine-out. 

I'm particularly interested in finding out about local motorgliders in the Pacific Northwest, anywhere from Portland to Yakima or The Dalles. I'm kinda in the middle of that, in Klickitat county, Washington. If anyone knows of a good glider instructor in this general area, I'd love to know who they are. Would also love the chance to try on some different motorgliders for size. My father-in-law likes to fly when he's here visiting, and he'd like to go in on an airplane with me sometime in the near future. Our budget would be somewhere around $150k to $160k, I think... though closer to $100k would be preferable. I am seeing some good looking used options in the classifieds in that range, just a matter of finding something that fits us taller guys.

Thanks for putting together this forum, looking forward to learning!

EDIT: Fixed a couple typos, and adding background. "DucFanDan" comes from my affinity for Ducati motorcycles. I had a 900SS, currently have a Cagiva Gran Canyon with the Ducati 900 desmodue engine. I was riding before I started flying, so that's my Internet handle. Airplanes, cars, motorcycles... I like flying machines and engines.

Edited by DucFanDan
Typos and missing info

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Steve Sliwa

Hi DucFan Dan

If you look at our map page you will see that there is a TMGA member based in Klickitat County, has a Ximango, and is an inactive CFI.  That's me.  During flying season I live in White Salmon and keep my Ximango at Dallesport (KDLS).  I am wintering in Arizona, but expect to be back in May.

Where are you based?  Where are you flying?

Steve Sliwa

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DucFanDan

Hi Steve,

I'm in Klickitat county, unincorporated farmland. Actually, used to work for you! Small world.

Most of my flying has been with Gorge Aviation Services at KDLS. My primary training has been in N6950H, their J3 Cub. Dunno if you remember Lowell Neal, he was my CFI for most of it. Brett instructed when Lowell wasn't available. They both moved out of the area, then the J3 went down for some major maintenance, and I was out of the scene for a while because of a cancer recurrence. Not sure who they have instructing in the Cub now, if anyone.

I see Andy now owns the FBO at Hood River (Tac Aero, a subsidiary of Hood Tech); they have an RV-12 I can finish my Light Sport license in, so as we get some better weather I am planning to head up there. They're tied in with CubCrafters now as an authorized training center, and I'd like to fly a Sport Cub or Carbon Cub.

Still want to find a glider instructor. Pete Kunz spoke highly of the experience flying gliders, and that got me intrigued. I have also heard high praise from experienced pilots on the learning experience of gliders, and improving proficiency through training is rewarding. And what flying enthusiast doesn't want to add more ratings and airplanes to their repertoire? ;-)

Enjoy that Arizona sunshine! Will definitely check back next spring, would love an opportunity to see your Ximango next year. If you also happen to make that CFI rating current again, let me know.

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Barry Stott

DucFanDan:

I am 6'5" and 240 pounds...and I am flying the perfect motorglider to fit you, but I cannot send you any further info, advice, or links to data without having your direct email address. Mine is ebstott@aol.com...please contact me directly so I can help you in your search for both glider training and equipment.

Barry

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tcamilli

The Samba Motorglider from Distar Air USA has a wide cockpit and will easily hold you and and friend of equal stature as well as luggage. It is powered by a 100 hp Rotax, has a 25/1 glide ratio, and it is fully equipped at around $120k. Distarairusa.com.

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Lyonbyte

Take a look at a Grob 109B. We have been flying ours around the Hawaiian Islands since 2007. We have it listed on Wings and Wheels and is way below your budget. Weve done numerous interisland crossings in it (70 miles over water) and its always brought us home safely. My email is lyonbyte@aol.com if your interested.

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algee1_73@yahoo.com

When reasonable weather season is again upon us, I'd be happy to come to Klikitat and let you look at, get a ride in, a Phoenix U15 motorglider.  PhoenixAir USA is the web page.  Mine is in Renton at the South end of Lake Washington, and my usual hot weather flight is to take-off at about 12 -1, power over to where ever there is lift, usually I check Ellensburg prior to heading up to the Ephrata/high plateau North of Wenatchee area.

Then I shut down the engine and soar until I need to land for food or a toilet or to stretch, take-off and do more soaring and then start up the engine to cross the Cascades, returning to Renton around 6.

There is a lot of capability out there in various airplanes, so take your time looking.

Alan Gurevich

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mikeschumann

I own a Phoenix Motorglider. This is one aircraft you should definitely take a very close look at. One major feature are the removable wing tips. Pull a single pin and you can remove the 15 lb Cabon fiber tips in about 30 seconds. With the tips removed, the plane has a wingspan of 35 ft so it will fit in a standard T hangar. 

The major downside is that there are almost never used aircraft available. The waiting list to buy a new one is about 2 years after you send in your deposit. 

Another thing to watch out for is that almost every glider and Motorglider that I know of has a per seat load limit of 240 lbs, regardless of max gross weight. The only exception to this that I am aware of is the back seat of the Schweitzer 2-32, which is a non-motorized pure glider. 

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DucFanDan
On December 20, 2016 at 0:16 PM, tcamilli said:

The Samba Motorglider from Distar Air USA has a wide cockpit and will easily hold you and and friend of equal stature as well as luggage. It is powered by a 100 hp Rotax, has a 25/1 glide ratio, and it is fully equipped at around $120k. Distarairusa.com.

Thanks for the info! I will be sure to look more into the Samba.

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DucFanDan
23 hours ago, Lyonbyte said:

Take a look at a Grob 109B. We have been flying ours around the Hawaiian Islands since 2007. We have it listed on Wings and Wheels and is way below your budget. Weve done numerous interisland crossings in it (70 miles over water) and its always brought us home safely. My email is lyonbyte@aol.com if your interested.

Are you on Oahu? I may be traveling there in the near future, and would love to check out a Grob in person. Will send an email.

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Sinus Flex Max

Hello DucFanDan, to act as PIC in a Light Sport Aircraft your last application for an FAA medical cannot have been denied.  If you had a medical, it cannot have been withdrawn.  Assuming the above are negative and you can self certify, you are OK.  No medical is needed for a glider license.  As to what you will fit, proportions are more limiting than overall height.  I'm 6' 2", have long legs, and fit into a Pipistrel Sinus/Virus quite comfortably.  Pilots my height with long torsos find their heads close to the wing spars.  Aircraft overall weight should also be kept in mind, as rate of climb equates to horsepower 'left over.'  At 1320lbs my 80hp Sinus Flex Max will still climb at 850fpm.  I have flown a Fournier RF5 and its rate of climb was quite leisurely.  The Super Ximango weighs 1334lbs empty, MTOW is 1775lbs, so its climb rate will be much less than the Pipistrels, so although it is a perhaps a better sailplane (better visibility with low wing v high), perhaps it would be less capable on cross country flights.  Lots to consider!

 

 

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DucFanDan

Thanks Alan and Mike for the input on the Phoenix! Looks like a very nice airplane. And thanks Mike for the note on the per-seat max weights. That's an important limitation to be looking at, and I hadn't observed that in any of the general reviews or spec sheets.

 

Alan, I will have to keep in touch with you as the weather gets better. Either if you want to visit Klickitat county, or I'd love an excuse for a XC up to your area. As I found at Oshkosh when looking at Light Sports, seeing in person and "trying on" for size was the best way to narrow down the options. Would love to see your Phoenix!

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DucFanDan
3 minutes ago, Sinus Flex Max said:

Hello DucFanDan, to act as PIC in a Light Sport Aircraft your last application for an FAA medical cannot have been denied.  If you had a medical, it cannot have been withdrawn.  Assuming the above are negative and you can self certify, you are OK.  No medical is needed for a glider license.  As to what you will fit, proportions are more limiting than overall height.  I'm 6' 2", have long legs, and fit into a Pipistrel Sinus/Virus quite comfortably.  Pilots my height with long torsos find their heads close to the wing spars.  Aircraft overall weight should also be kept in mind, as rate of climb equates to horsepower 'left over.'  At 1320lbs my 80hp Sinus Flex Max will still climb at 850fpm.  I have flown a Fournier RF5 and its rate of climb was quite leisurely.  The Super Ximango weighs 1334lbs empty, MTOW is 1775lbs, so its climb rate will be much less than the Pipistrels, so although it is a perhaps a better sailplane (better visibility with low wing v high), perhaps it would be less capable on cross country flights.  Lots to consider!

 

 

Your assumption is correct. I was Dx'd before I had ever applied for a medical, so I have no denial or withdrawal on record. I started pursuing the Light Sport license after my oncologist, surgeon, and GP all said they thought I was fine to fly. They saw no medical reason not to.

I read elsewhere on the forum, might have been from Steve, a comment about getting a letter from the Drs to keep on-hand, more for insurance purposes than anything else. Basically, something in writing that says my self-certification is based on professional medical review. I just don't want to hassle with the expense and time of getting a special issuance from the FAA. I don't plan on becoming an airline captain; flying for me is a recreational pursuit, hence that is time and money that would be better spent on study, training, and flight experience.

Good input on the Pipistrels. Next time I make it to Oshkosh or a fly-in where they're represented, I will have to try them on again. I thought I had attempted climbing into a Virus SW last time I was there, but I may be mistaken. It's been a couple years. My 6'4" is slightly leg-biased. I find most airplanes fit height-wise, and my width is fine in all but the narrowest airframes as well. It's the legroom that's a problem. Knees/shins are in the dash, and in some yoke-based airplanes I can't get full deflection because my knees are right there.

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Sinus Flex Max

Don't even think of trying for a 'special issuance.'  I speak from experience.  The FAA screwed Bob Hoover, one of aviation's legends.  They will screw you too.  Repeat often:

"No medical is needed for a glider certification.  No medical is needed for a glider certification."

If no medical is needed, then no 'self certification' is necessary.  If you buy an ELSA glider or an SLSA glider, it is still a glider.  It is not a LSA aircraft.  Ignore 'experts' who try to divine the 'intent' of the regulations, especially self-styled 'experts' in glider clubs.  The regulations are specific:

no medical is needed for glider pilot certification.

 

 

Hello DucFanDan, to act as PIC in a Light Sport Aircraft your last application for an FAA medical cannot have been denied.  If you had a medical, it cannot have been withdrawn.  Assuming the above are negative and you can self certify, you are OK.  No medical is needed for a glider license.  As to what you will fit, proportions are more limiting than overall height.  I'm 6' 2", have long legs, and fit into a Pipistrel Sinus/Virus quite comfortably.  Pilots my height with long torsos find their heads close to the wing spars.  Aircraft overall weight should also be kept in mind, as rate of climb equates to horsepower 'left over.'  At 1320lbs my 80hp Sinus Flex Max will still climb at 850fpm.  I have flown a Fournier RF5 and its rate of climb was quite leisurely.  The Super Ximango weighs 1334lbs empty, MTOW is 1775lbs, so its climb rate will be much less than the Pipistrels, so although it is a perhaps a better sailplane (better visibility with low wing v high), perhaps it would be less capable on cross country flights.  Lots to consider!

 

 

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hawk300bg

DucFanDan,

Check out barnstormer a.com, my Grob 190B is for sale for $45,500.  It's in PA.  Search under gliders/sailplanes.

Hawk

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DucFanDan
On December 23, 2016 at 5:18 PM, hawk300bg said:

DucFanDan,

Check out barnstormer a.com, my Grob 190B is for sale for $45,500.  It's in PA.  Search under gliders/sailplanes.

Hawk

Thanks for the heads-up. Is the ad accurate on the useful load? It's only 432 lbs? Or is that max payload with full fuel? If 432 is the max allowable for fuel + gear + people it won't work for me. The problem with being 6'4" tall is that even being of a normalish BMI, that's still 225 lbs (which is what I was at a checkup two weeks ago). Fill the tanks and put me in it, there's little left over. Wikipedia says 72kg tanks? That's about 150-160 lbs? (26ish US gallons) 432 - 225 - 155 = 52 lbs. I have a few small friends, but none are that light. :-/

Now, if 432 is max payload with full fuel, that gives me something to work with. I could run half tanks and take one of my brothers or my father or father-in-law up for some fun.

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