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What is Motor Gliding?

A motor glider is a fixed-wing aircraft that can be flown with or without engine power.

Source: Wikipedia

Most people can generally tell the difference between powered aircraft and gliders – gliders have long high aspect ratio wings  but no engine whilst powered aircraft have a propeller at the front of the fuselage with smaller wing spans. Add a petrol powered combustion engine to a glider and you now have a motor glider enabling the aircraft to take off under its own power and not have to rely on aerotow, winch launch, auto-tow or even bungee launching to get airborne. You can then easily switch the engine off at a safe atltitude during your flight and go soaring.

Once you have had enough fun you can then safely restart your engine inflight and fly back to your airfield. Having the ability to switch the engine off and start soaring can help keep your flying costs down. Typically most motor gliders are 2 seaters, rather than 4 seaters found in airplanes like Cessna’s, so this keeps flying fees even lower. If you’ve ever spent time around gliders you may have seen a wide variety of motorised sailplanes, but if you haven’t we have listed the types below for you.

Types of Motor Gliders At a Glance

Touring Motor Gliders (TMGs)

  • TMGs can take off and cruise like an airplane or soar with power off, like a glider.
  • Usually fitted with front-mounted engines
  • Larger wingspans provide moderate gliding and soaring capability, substantially better than normal aeroplanes
  • Typically engine power ranges from 80 to 140hp
  • Landing gear usually made up of two main wheels – most unpowered gliders have one main wheel
  • Some propellers on motor gliders – whilst gliding with the engine stopped – can be “feathered” to minimise form drag

Self-Launching Gliders

  • 2 Stroke internal combustion engine mounted in the fuselage (behind the cockpit where the pilot sits)
  • The propeller is mounted on a mast with an internal combustion engine in situ nearby
  • Propellor and engine can be rotated out of the top of the fuselage, by means of opening the engine bay doors
  • Engines can be quite buzzy and noisy

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