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Touring Motor Gliders Association (TMGA)
  • Introducing Myself

    Ethan Graham

    Since I did help to set up this group, and in the spirit of kicking
    things off, I guess I'll introduce myself!

    I am a new Taifun owner - so new I haven't yet completed my checkout
    in the aircraft! I'm very much looking forward to getting out and
    about in it.

    My flying background - I started with airplanes, and worked my way up
    to an instrument rating, but I've found over the years that I've
    drifted toward gliding more and more, and I haven't been current in
    airplanes for years now. I stumbled into hang gliding almost by
    accident, and flew hang gliders for 10 years - wonderful aircraft, by
    the way - before getting my glider rating and buying a 15m ship, a

    I lived in California for many years, and flew my DG-202 at Warner
    Springs outside San Diego. I moved to New York for work - it wasn't
    easy! But I must say that flying over New Jersey and Pennsylvania,
    the scenery is beautiful.

    That 15m sailplane (the -202) was a delightful aircraft (I've sold it
    since), but one of the things I realized pretty quickly was that I
    wanted an auxiliary engine. After a lot of investigating and
    listening to people, I decided that the 2-stroke-on-a-pole was, so to
    speak, not a mature technology - so I went looking for a motorglider.

    Motorgliders tend not to have the glide performance you can get from a
    sailplane with a 2-stroke-on-a-pole, which is unfortunate, but an
    analogy came to me from sailing. When I was a kid, I used to sail
    dinghies - they were fast, they were exciting, but they were
    impractical outside a protected harbor. Some people on the marina had
    powerboats, which were fast, but after I'd gone for a few trips on
    them I felt they were a bit, well, dull. Many people on the marina
    had sailboats, and some of them had no motors - the purists said a
    good seaman didn't need one - but most of them had auxiliary power.
    They sailed when conditions suited, and they ran the motor when they
    didn't suit. Those boats were never the fastest (the dinghies and
    pure racing boats left them for dead) but they were by far the most
    popular types. I came to the conclusion that pure gliders are the
    equivalent of the racing dinghy, and the 2-stroke-on-a-pole perhaps a
    bit like pure-racing offshore yachts. Airplanes are like power boats
    - fast, but not a heck of a lot of fun after a while. Motorgliders
    were sort of the airborne equivalent of the offshore sailing cruiser -
    not the fastest, but comfortable, reliable, and good enough for lots
    of sailing fun - at least I hope so! In any case, I decided that
    reliability and the ability to cruise under power were big enough
    factors to overcome the pure performance issue, and was in search of a

    I was at Oshkosh this year, lusting after a Ximango at the SSA stand,
    when I met Dave McConaughy, who spoke very highly of the Taifun.
    Since there was one for sale in Pennsylvania, I bought it - and here I am!

    I discovered that more or less all the other self-launching gliders
    have their own discussion group and, since I very selfishly would love
    to be able to ask questions as I stumble across yet more things I
    don't know, I asked Joe V and Dave M if they would like to set one up
    for the Taifun. As you see, they were up for it!

    By the way, I have the impression that "most" people who fly
    motorgliders use them as airplanes, flying with the power on all the
    time. My own interest is much more in using the engine to travel to
    the lift, and do some soaring, while having the ability to use the
    aircraft like an airplane from time to time. I'd love to learn more
    from people who are soaring their Taifuns - whatever you've learned,
    from "you can't thermal these, they're too heavy" to "thermals just
    fine, I never have any trouble, and I use 30 degrees of flap when
    thermaling, to get it slowed down" to "I never get below 4,000 ft
    without starting the motor..."

    Here's another question - is it common, or rare, to encounter runway
    or taxiway lights high enough to hit the wing? There isn't much
    dihedral on our ships...

    Cheers to all,

    - Finbar


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