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Touring Motor Gliders Association (TMGA)
  • Is it legally possible to fly a Ximango in IMC under IFR rules? [May 2009]

    Ethan Graham

    Summary:  Bruce Schimmel started a thread in the XOG website about IFR flying in a Ximango.  This article is a summary of that thread.

    Bruce Schimmel wrote:

    A bit of hangar talk, between a friend and me... My friend says he knew someone who had a glider license with an IFR Endorsement. I said, No such thing. Is there? Was there? Which brings us to the next logical question: How could the Ximango be flown legally under instrument flight conditions? Could it be recertified as experimental and be made IFR flight worthy? And if so, what kind of pilot would be authorized to conduct IFR operations? (did we have a thread about this in the first listserv?)

    thx, B

    Tom Frazer wrote:

    I recall reading that many years ago some 2-32's in Colorado were flown IFR while doing wave research. They would get a block altitude clearance and had a AI and xpdr. That said, my Ximango would lose 10-15 kts in cruise when it encounted a bit of light rain. Some ice on a Ximango would be downright hairy, IMHO.


    Steve Sliwa wrote:

    I spotted this Q&A online:

    Q: How can I get an instrument rating in a Glider catagory?

    Since an IFR rating is required to enter Class "A" airspace and i want to be able to fly in WAVE conditions, how do i GET the rating and what are the requirements to keep current (in a glider catagory).

    An IFR rating is not required to enter class A airspace in a glider, however there are some restrictions that apply.

    The glider needs to have an operable electrical system and transponder (Mode C), as well as a two way radio. It's also highly recommended that you carry a means of navigating (such as a handheld GPS).

    Glider pilots wishing to enter class A airspace should contact the overseeing authority (Applicable Air Route Traffic Control Center), and request a deviation allowance. According to the regs, you're supposed to do so at least 4 days in advance, however I know folks who have called over the frequency and requested entry and been granted it.

    The big thing is you must receive clearance from ATC prior to entering Class A airspace! Generally they will assign you a block of airspace (horizontal and vertical limits).

    From the FAR's:

    91.135 Operations in Class A airspace.

    Except as provided in paragraph (d) of this section, each person operating an aircraft in Class A airspace must conduct that operation under instrument flight rules (IFR) and in compliance with the following:

    (a) Clearance. Operations may be conducted only under an ATC clearance received prior to entering the airspace.

    (b) Communications. Unless otherwise authorized by ATC, each aircraft operating in Class A airspace must be equipped with a two-way radio capable of communicating with ATC on a frequency assigned by ATC. Each pilot must maintain two-way radio communications with ATC while operating in Class A airspace.

    (c) Transponder requirement. Unless otherwise authorized by ATC, no person may operate an aircraft within Class A airspace unless that aircraft is equipped with the applicable equipment specified in §91.215.

    (d) ATC authorizations. An operator may deviate from any provision of this section under the provisions of an ATC authorization issued by the ATC facility having jurisdiction of the airspace concerned. In the case of an inoperative transponder, ATC may immediately approve an operation within a Class A airspace area allowing flight to continue, if desired, to the airport of ultimate destination, including any intermediate stops, or to proceed to a place where suitable repairs can be made, or both. Requests for deviation from any provision of this section must be submitted in writing, at least 4 days before the proposed operation. ATC may authorize a deviation on a continuing basis or for an individual flight.

    Steve Sliwa wrote:

    I also spotted online at link that in order for a glider pilot to be assigned an ATC code other than standard ones (1200, 7500, 7600, 0r 7700) that the pilot must have an airplane instrument rating.

    Steve Sliwa wrote:

    I also searched about experimental aircraft:

    Re. Instrument Flight

    Like all aircraft, an amateur-built experimental aircraft must be properly equipped before it can be operated under IFR rules [91.205]. This is confirmed in FAA Order 8130.2D Chg 1, para 134, which states that: "(7) [During "Phase 1" Flight Test Period] the aircraft is to be operated under Visual Flight Rules (VFR), day only. (8) After completion of phase I flight testing, unless appropriately equipped for night and/or instrument flight in accordance with § 91.205, this aircraft is to be operated under VFR, day only. ...(28) The pilot in command of this aircraft shall notify air traffic control of the experimental nature of this aircraft when operating into or out of airports with an operational control tower. When filing IFR, the experimental nature of this aircraft shall be listed in the remarks section of the flight plan."

    Steve Sliwa wrote:

    Here is a more complete answer:   link

    Basically it states that to fly IFR in a regular basis your type certificate must not rule it out and that you have the proper equipment, proper ratings, and proper clearance.

    I don't see anything in our generalized type certificate that limits operations to Day VFR but have not searched the log books and other manuals carefully.  I was expecting to see a limitation of Day VFR but have not found it.

    I know that XimangoUSA is working with a customer to get a Night VFR approval for a new bird due in the US this year.

    Ron Snedecor wrote:

    Note 2 in the Ximango Type Certificate states "The placards listed in the Flight Manual must be displayed.  A complete listing of all placards is shown in the applicable Maintenance Manuals".  My manual requires a placard that states "Day VFR Only".

    In the FAR's under Recent Flight Experience 61.57 (c)(2)  says "For the purpose of obtaining instrument experience in a glider, performed and logged under actual or simulated instrument conditions-- (i) At least 3 hours of instrument time in flight. of which 1-1/2 hours may be acquired in an airplane or a glider if no passengers are to be carried; or  (ii) 3 hours of instrument time in flight in a glider if a passenger is to be carried".  There is more about instrument proficiency in a glider under paragraph (d)(1)(iii).

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    I asked my local FAA friend about this, he is also a glider pilot.   FAR 61.65 is the reference you are looking for and as he and I read it there is NOT an IFR rating for a glider pilot.   Therefore having a glider certified for IFR flight might be unnecessary.(I am not saying the instruments are not necessary just the certification).  I am adding on that the references in 61.57 refer to currency in a glider and as such there must be some dispensation or "endorsement" I may check with my local FSDO and ask if a Motor Glider equipped certified and maintained can be rated as an IFR aircraft.  But then again I am hesitant to ask some questions. 

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