Sponsored by Aircross LimitedDesigned by Aircross Limited


Ladder Home Show Ladders Daily Scores Calculator My Flights Steward Logon Ladder Rules Forum Links


Subject Re: Gliders with motors
Thread Number 23 of 26 in thread
Author Stephen Haley
Posted 17-Sep-07 02:27:51
As one of the few (24 that I can identify) pilots on the ladder who have posted flights in a true SLMG I thought I would wade in and say my 2 cents worth

Does it make a difference to the way I set and fly tasks
Yes is the truthful answer but I am an abject coward and spent far too much time in fields in my 1st year. This is only my 3rd year XC and 2nd in an SLMG. Most days I have done something at least one other pilot at the club has done something similar in a glider without an engine so this is merely an attitude of mind and the ready availability of a retrieve crew.

Has it made a difference to my position on the ladder
Difficult to answer - more flights certainly but I pay a very severe penalty in terms of handicap I have to do a 300 @ 100kph to get the same points as someone in a ASW24 @ 70 and I am just not that good so it is quite possible that I might be higher up in something like a ls8 given that only 6 flights count. With the exception of the DG400 (101) all the SLMGs are 110+ HC.

Are there any other benefits
Yes the biggest of all - I can choose when to launch rather than wait in the TUG queue but then again this is available to anyone who gets up early enough - I live over an hour from the club so it makes a diff to me. Perhaps we should handicap those people who are retired and live close to the club so that when the see that a so called bad day is going to be a cracker they can get rigged and launch.
Secondly if we are on the edge of the bad weather then we can remote start but that has only been 2-3 times this year.

Are there any Disadvantages?
There have been several days where I was not willing to fly or could not launch due to the CB being too low. I have a min start height of 1500-1300ft and bluntly I would rather not land a heavy glider in field unless I had to. The DG808 is not light and has a highish Min landing speed. Yes I know others who have a much lower start height but I wonder how many have had an engine fail on start up and jam up for real. The DG has 15:1 LD like that and it is not fun as the roll rate is also badly affected. I should know as I have been there and believe me you need the height and time to make it as safe as possible.
The wing loading is fairly severe as well (39kg/Mtr for me but I am more than a tad overweight) and this means that when others can get home on the odd 1/2 thermal I cant but then again that may be skill.

On balance I believe all the above cancels out and certainly any of the pilots who are high up the ladder in SLMGs would be there or maybe even higher in ordinary gliders. What it has enabled me to do is to learn xc at a faster rate than normal as I can make mistakes (and boy do I) and then restart and try again so my time in the air is probably at least double but then again so is my investment)

The Ladder Stats for SLMGs so far this year are:-
No Pilot Type Dist Points Rank

I would argue that any of the pilots at the top would be there or thereabouts without their engine indeed I would actually exclude the Antares given that John has often used most of the available power just to launch and what Ed, Robin an Steve do with the EB is beyond belief. I know it is good but you only have to look at their traces to see the skill there. The only really interesting stat here is that 3 of the top 5 did most of their scoring flights in Scotish wave

With respect to turbos given their limited power (1-2kt max climb), reliability and duration I am not sure that they are a huge help except for the psychological. The acident stats are littered with turbo related accidents.

The bottom line is that if anyone really has a beef then the correct way to deal with it is to get the handicaps altered. Given that the ladder depends on 6 flights then I would say that engines just donít come into it given that these flights are normally done on stunning days. Yes my partner did a 600 O/R on one such day but I egged him into doing it and promised that I would retrieve him and I would have done so even if we didnít have an engine.

So to recap if we are going to penalise gliders with engines lets also penalise:-
Pilots who live close to the airfield (they can more easily get to the front of the grid and can also take advantage of those surprise good days)
Pilots who learnt to fly before they were 25 (it takes old farts like me 3x as long to learn and we will never be as good)
Pilots who are retired and can fly anytime they like so they always get the good days
Pilots who donít share a glider so they always have availability on the good days
Pilots who have a ready and willing retrieve crew always available and are happy to tale advantage of it.
Pilots who can afford better gliders and who are skilfull enough to use that advantage.
Pilots with wave or ridges on their doorstep eg parnham who can do 300k+ at rediculous speeds on them.
Those who have access to good local forecasting and task setting

I remember sailors on the clyde back in the 60s/70s who had the same viewpoint re Engines or even outboards in boats and yet now they are the norm. Like it or not that is where we are headed mostly due to the convenience and flexibility as opposed to the performance.

On a separate note I would dearly like to see a proper training regime for both SLMGs and Turbos as I believe many of the accidents we see with these are avoidable with the right training from pilots who have been there.

The ladder and the sport is supposed to be fun lets just enjoy both and if you are a true purist then go fly wood with only an ASI+ Altimeter.

Feel free to flame me as I get far worse round the club most days but boy do I enjoy my flying. I have over 150hrs and 5000k this year not bad for a so called poor year.

Hopefully this might just wrap up this thread...

Stephen Haley

For more information regarding the BGA National Ladder please contact the