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Thread: Homebuilt MotorGlider Plans

  1. #1

    Homebuilt MotorGlider Plans

    Not sure if this is the right place to post this - but have recently lost my medical and honestly can't afford a carbon-fiber 100K+ motorglider.

    Bet there are others like me in this situation. I am going to have to sell my Cessna 172 and am researching what is available in the
    motor glider community. I wouldn't mind building one, but I want one with a little more cockpit room than the Xenos.

    So - are there any plans available for a motor glider with, maybe a 4130 tube fuselage and aluminum wing - or even a fabric covered wing?

    Are there any resources for figuring out how to design a 50+ foot wing; flutter issues scare me to death.

    From what little I have been able to find in the past few days - there are not plans available for aircraft like the Fournier RF-5.
    Perhaps someone may have more information on these aircraft.Would not mind building a wooden airplane.

    I've looked at the Grob's, but the 3000 hour inspection looks like a deal killer.

    I would appreciate any input; I may have to end up with the Xenos and widen the fuselage on my own, but I hope that there are some
    other alternatives out there to consider.


  2. #2
    Patron StuOstrander's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    0N0, GPH
    I hate to be an old, wet rag, but…if you have failed a flight physical, you are not legal to fly a glider or LSA. The requirement for a glider, or motor glider, is to be able to stipulate you have no known physical disabilities. A failed flight physical would seem to negate that statement.

    Unless you do one heck of a lot of flying, buying a Grob or something else with a 3,000 hour TBO is probably not an issue. If you find one with 2,000 hrs on it, you still have 1,000 hrs to accumulate. I am guessing that is more than ten years of flying for more than 70% of the pilots out there.

  3. #3
    Administrator Webmaster's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Medical Discussion
    My father lost his medical but had a medical condition which was treatable. Once he completed treatment and had an appropriate plan to manage his remaining medical conditions, he got a note from his physician indicating that he was safe to drive a car and pilot a plane. It was not an 'FAA medical', but his attorney advised him that it 'could' give him some protection for his self-certification that he was safe to pilot a glider, mostly for insurance and estate protection purposes. He bought a Grob G109 and had a ball, loved it, and was extremely happy.

    Kits Discussion
    My general advise is that if you want to build something, find a cool kit and buy it (but don't design it). If you want to fly something, find an aircraft and fly it. I guarantee you that building a kit for the sake of cheaper flying will not work out. It is too hard, time consuming, and frustrating and if your only motivation is to fly, you will end up trying to sell a partially complete kit. (Been there and done it myself, but have seen this scenario many times since.)

    There are so many cool TMG's out there for which there are good prices and I think, if you buy wisely, they can hold their value. So I would stretch, get a loan, and have some fun.

    Good luck!
    Last edited by Webmaster; 02-09-2012 at 02:41 PM.
    Steve Sliwa - Ximango AMT-200S - N175XS
    Airports: KDLS | KFFZ
    Volunteer Webmaster

  4. #4
    Steve - Thanks for the help - one of the reasons I posted here is that I'm having trouble finding a motor glider kit - or even plans - in wood or aluminum. I'm not
    going to mess with fiberglass or carbon fiber - just stinks too much and is unpleasant to work with - at least for me. I'll probably end up with a Grob 109, but need to
    sell my C172 first. Still - I have always wanted to build an airplane and even if I get a Grob, I might build one for the fun of it. As far as my medical situation - I have three doctors & AOPA scratching their heads wondering why the FAA declined my physical. The term "nameless bureaucrat" now seems to have more meaning to me. I'm ok to drive my 18,000 lb motorhome down the road at 70 mph, but can't fly a 2500 lb airplane - go wonder.

    Anyway - if you should come across any plans in wood or metal - even could modify a sailplane plan to put an aerovee in it - please let me know.


  5. #5
    Expert User
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    TN89, AKA Matthew's Field
    Hi Rodney,

    Composite aircraft construction uses epoxy resin, not the "stinky" polyester resin used in boats you are familiar with. Some parts, like wheel pants, might be fabricated at the factory using polyester, but nowhere in the kit build does it call for the builder to use polyester. Epoxy has almost no odor unless you get right down on it. You should wear gloves to keep it off your skin, but the odor of aircraft epoxies is almost imperceptible. Epoxy is easy to work with and very forgiving for the novice. When I bought my Europa XS kit I had very limited knowledge of composites. Most of the key bonds and moldings are done for you. I found the build to be very enjoyable and a tremendous learning experience. Europa factory support is excellent, as is the Europa builder network. Although I didn't buy the glider wings for my Europa I am familiar with their construction. In fact, I have an unbuilt Europa kit (with both short and long wings) in my hangar that belong to my brother. No idea what he would want, but I can see if he would sell it if you're interested. It hasn't been touched in about 5-6 years and I sure would like to see it gone out of my hangar. I have flown the Europa motorglider once and got about 3 hours in it in soarable conditions. Control harmony was decent, although not as nice as some production gliders and motorgliders I've flown. Nothing dramatic and no bad habits, but coming from a 172 you will have to learn to use your feet a lot more than you are used to, but that is true with any glider. It's not the best performer by sailplane standards, but it almost certainly outperforms the Grob 109, especially if it's built light, and has certain sailplane performance tricks installed, like positive seals and Mylar on the hinge lines. I feel sure a tricked out Europa motorglider would probably outperform the Lambada, too. Most of the Europas I am aware of are completed and flying for around $60-$70K when the kit is bought retail. Most of the price variability comes from the instrument package. Some folks get carried away and wind up with almost as much in the instrument panel as they have in the airframe. There are some kits that come up from time to time that could be had for well south of $20K, less engine and instruments. So, it's feasible that you could build a Europa motorglider for around $50K.

    Hope it helps!


    John Lawton
    Whitwell, TN (TN89)
    Ximango N135XS
    Europa XS N245E

  6. #6
    Organizer Richard Pearl's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    As a Glider pilot we only need to self-certify our ability safely manage all flight requirements when we act as pilot-in-command. I like Steve's note about getting a doctor's opinion that the referenced pilot was safe to drive a car and pilot an airplane as some additional legal protection. The fact is that something could happen to any one of us - especially those of us on the plus side of 50 - on any flight, despite the fact that we were perfectly fine the day before. It's happened. I worked with a power pilot (owner of a Super Cub) who lost his medical and possibly could have gotten it back but chose to go the glider route because the ship he bought (a Pipistral) allowed him to fly essentially the same type of mission.

    Re the Grob 3,000 hour situation the last time I checked it was a Service Bulletin recommendation, not an AD. The new limit is 12,000 hours. There's always a good reason for SB's, it's just that it's not mandatory with a typically quick fix date. I would suspect that if you're using the Grob in a commercial operation you would want to do it as a legal precaution, i.e. "your honor, the reason I did - or did not - do the SB is because.........". You fill in the rest. I'm checking with a friend of mine who had it done and will report back the requirements and cost.

  7. #7
    Proficient User Xenos Ted's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Rodney, I agree with Steve 100 percent. I built and fly a Xenos - love it greatly, BUT I like to build things. In ham radio, I built my equipment. I built the engine for my Xenos. Before that I owned two VW buses and spent many joyful hours adjusting the valves and swaping engines, etc. I kept a brand new Honda for regular transportation. I like to build things. It was NOT cheap and very time consuming. If my wife, the first pilot in that family, were not an equal builder, my marriage probably would have been strained. She calls it her motorglider!
    Steve has good advice.
    Best wishes
    Xenos Ted

    Quote Originally Posted by Ramrod25 View Post
    Steve - Thanks for the help - one of the reasons I posted here is that I'm having trouble finding a motor glider kit -Anyway - if you should come across any plans in wood or metal - even could modify a sailplane plan to put an aerovee in it - please let me know.


  8. #8
    Thermalseeker - you're right - epoxy is not too bad to work with - except I usually get more on me than on the part I'm trying to build. The Europa is a beautiful airplane - perhaps I should have said that composite construction is outside of my comfort zone - I would feel much better with metal or wood, especially for structural parts.

    I put together a spreadsheet on the Xenos - I tried to be conservative, but also realistic and I came up with about 45K to build one. I think for now the game plan
    will be to sell the 172 - get a runway prepared at my house and then look for a good low time Grob 109. I've ordered some books on building with wood and am going to start the design process for one of my own design. But I don't want to wait two years to fly -


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