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Subject Re: Gliders with motors
Thread Number 22 of 26 in thread
Author David Prosolek
Posted 01-Sep-07 09:41:11

If having an engine allows you to do flights that you normally wouldn't do , then great, that's what it's all about. I don't think it's that anyone objects to 'Turbo's'

It's the way you insist that they are the same as a 'glider' when they are clearly not. See previous postings from some top class pilots not just 'club' pilots like us.

I'll remind you of a 500k attempt - when i suggested that one of the turnpoints might not be reachable due to sea air - your comment - Ahhh well if i can't I'll just stick the engine up, might as well have a go, what have i got to lose.

Gliders can't do that Chris and have to fly (and task) accordingly.

I completed a smaller task that day, you landed to 'fill up' and re-declared a smaller task due to the time you lost farting about putting the engine up and down - I supose you could say that's a disadvantage........

Also - gliders over 18mtrs actually benefit from the extra weight as the polar curve improves so don't give the rubbish argument that you lose in weak conditions - the 22 was 2/3 full the same day and far outweighed the 28, stayed up and started.

I am glad you have a very nice glider with an engine - but it ain't the same and you do flights you previously would not have attempted.

Now hold up your hand and admit that it ain't the same game (despite how you try and wrap it up) and lets bury this thread and get on with some gliding (with or without a motor)


...actually no, in a comp, once you start up your engine (after the 30 second run you are allowed before the start) you are classed as landing out and cannot go on to fly the task. So in your example, any glider that used their engine to stay up would be out of that day's competition...where as a glider that did NOT have an engine might have been able to use their lighter wing loading to stay airbourne in the scratchy conditions....now that IS an advantage...to a non-turbo glider!!

Sorry Bill ;0)

I am not sure of the rules in this case, but if conditions became unsoarable (for some) before the start of a comp task, the turbos cranked up to stay up and the purists fell down, then the turbos folded away and romped off on the now soarable task, is this not a real disparity?
The reason I mention it is because the 2nd to last day of the Gransden Regionals, a quarter of the class launched could simply not stay up, whereas others got away, so the above situation could apply.
As it sometimes takes an age to get re-launched , right there is a clear turbo advantage, methinks.


As some one in a "pure" glider that has been overtaken on the ladder by a glider with a motor, I would like to add my views to the debate. Looking at what Ed Downham has done, and what John Williams, Roy Wilson and Kevin Hook are likely to do as the real season gets going, I have absolutely no doubt that the motors are a bit of a help....but... their soaring performances that show on the ladder are the ones they do without the motor intervening. The guys are simply better at reading the weather, setting the best task and perform better once on track than I do. I feel that I have improved a bit over the last couple of seasons but I have still got a long way to go before I feel I could turn up at the same airfield as any of the above and expect to beat them on the ladder over a season. In terms of the out landing situation I would not want a turbo ( certainly would not use one) on some of the ridge runs and wave flights that I have done recently. As far as thermal cross countries and outlanding is concerned I am happy to aerotow retrieve (thanks Gordon) or catch the train home and sort things out on my next day off. Really it is a matter of toughening up and gong for it.The ladder is littered with flights that were abandoned and the pilot later thought he could have completed ( including several in gliders with turbos).. its about commitment.. you have to really want to complete the task and go for it. That is what the top ladder pilots have done, well done Ed your task setting and flying was fantastic to watch, a great preformance, full stop. John Williams awsome 1,000km in Scotland... an outstanding gliding perfomance, full stop.

Wales is still some where that good scores could easily be done pity there are so few good flights on the ladder from that area, just look at what Ed and Robin did on what most people thought was a horrid unsoarable easterly day... and that could have been done without motor too! I was looking at something similar but had done 30+ hours the week before and needed some time with Molly. It would be nice to see a "Welsh challenge" on the ladder. 1,000 km in Welsh wave is possible and is accessible to most English based pilots, with or without motors.

The thing that limits us all more than the lack of a motor or turbo is our imagination.

In short I am happy to compete in my "pure" glider and derive added satisfaction if I finish ahead of motorised ones.

Still, I have not given up on the ladder..time to move north now for the real fun !


Hang on a minute! I never said anything about banning anything! I haven't even suggested that engines are a bad thing. In fact, I think it's great that so many people are doing more flying and much greater distances these days, now that they have an engine, and it's great (if you have the money) that an extra 10000 or more can save you from a couple of landouts each year.

All I have said is that if you have an engine bolted to the airframe and available to use, it's not a glider. Look it up in the dictionary if you don't believe me! You don't need too much intelligence to realise that there is a fundamental philisophical difference between flying with and without a motor in the game that is called gliding. Like I say, I'm not the anti-engine monster you think I am, so stop flaming me - I just think there is a difference. You're just assuming that I think they should be banned.

I also haven't mentioned competitive advantage, but seeing as you bring up the subject of competitions won by using the engine... allegedly, in the 2001 18m world championships, there was a crucial land-out day where Steve Jones motored home, got back at a respectable hour. Apparently Dave Watt returned by car at about 3-4am, which rather affected his performance the next day (indeed, I think he missed a turnpoint - not like Dave). Steve won. Unfair? No - because everyone was flying by the same rules. Should it be in the rules? Let's not go there...


Look...it's really simple...when you're being towed up by a motor glider or on the winch then your flight in the glider does not count because an external power source is being used....when you land in a field or deploy an engine your flight is over...because you are not gliding....the bit in the middle is gliding whether you have an engine to get you home or not! It's all gliding when you are gliding and it's not gliding when you are not! And in terms of competitive advantage...how many competition flights have been won when a pilot used his or her engine?? NONE!!

Should we ban pilots that fly in areas with lots of airfields because they can airfield hop? Or pilots that have partners more than happy to retrieve them because that removes the stress? Or gliders with more than 40:1 glide angles because that reduces land out likelihood? No...




But that's a bit like saying that in the Tour de France it's ok to take drugs... because, well, they aren't playing on a level playing field because some of them have better bodies than others. Maybe they'll start putting engines in them next year? Still cycling? Hmm.

In terms of performance flights, be it a competition or record, having the engine does change things. Whether you have crew or not is down to preparation and really rather external to what we are trying to measure in terms of the competition or record flight. Whether you've got an engine bolted to your airframe which you can light up fundamentally changes what you may or may not be willing to do.

I'm not saying motor-gliding is a bad thing or that you shouldn't do it or that people don't do some great achievements, just that by definition it's not gliding! Just because you have family, it doesn't mean that your motor-glider automatically qualifies as a glider.

Hey, one day when I'm rich, I might even buy a motor/turbo glider myself. It won't be the same, but I'm sure it'll be just as much fun.


As Ed said, this has been argued extensively before. You are entitled to your view but the majority of people accept that there is a whole range of factors which influence whether you are prepared to be flying over the other end of the country at 3pm. Some people have no work or family commitments in the evening and following day and friends or a spouse who are happy to come and retrieve them, others have engines. We are not competing on a level playing field, everyone's circumstances are different but for many of us it is preferable to get an engine rather than change our life outside of gliding.


Hi Ed,

I'd love to join you in your lovely motor glider one day, I really would! Funnily enough, I saw you the day after my posting (I think) somewhere between Didcot and Oxford.

Don't get me wrong, I think in today's society motor-gliders have their place.
I think people have done some fantastic flights in them.
I think they are great for making the most of the day by taking you to the weather when you couldn't normally make it there from your home club.
Etc, etc.
I don't doubt that some people will do the same flights with and without the engine.
I also don't doubt that other people will believe that they will do the same flights with and without the engine.

However, at the end of the day, it's motor-gliding, and NOT gliding.

Flights like Chris Garton's out-and-return record done without an engine ultimately inspire me because, lets face it, it takes balls to be over Durham at 3pm when you've got to get back to Lasham, and if you don't, you're on an over-nighter. In fact, you'll be lucky to be back by 3pm the next day. In fact, I think it's fantastic that his Ventus 2C doesn't have an engine, and just a week or two ago, he did 750km as an O/R.

Part of me wants to say that there's a deep philisophical difference, but... it's not even as close as that - it's quite simple - if you've got a motor, IT'S NOT A GLIDER!!!! It's a motor-glider.

Anyway, if you have some spare space in September, I'd still love to share a motor-gliding flight with you, if you'll have me. I promise you that I'll enjoy it, even if it's not gliding. ;-)



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