- How Long Does It Take To Go Solo?
The number of flights will depend on your aptitude, age, prior experience, frequency of instructional flying and ability to consolidate training. It could take anywhere between 15- 20 flying hours more or less.
Motorgliders are really the best way to learn to fly and it is easy for pilots to convert to pure gliders or powered aircraft in the future.
- How Long Will My Training Flight Last?
When you fly motorgliders we can guarantee good value as we are not totally dependent on rising air to stay up. Normally flights are about 40 minutes to 1 hour while you are learning. Later in your training you may have more and longer sessions. However gliding is weather dependent and when you fly and the length of your flight may vary with the forecast and the season.
- What Must I Do To Start Flying?
You must be a member of a club to use their facilities, hire their aircraft and be taught. You must also be a member of the Gliding Federation of Australia (GFA) which supervises all club activities, airworthiness and provides insurance coverage. The fees for these are usually annual but are available for shorter periods – speak to us.
- Do I Get a Licence?
There is no formal licence rather a series of certificates issued by the Gliding Federation of Australia (GFA) and instructor endorsements in your logbook. You will need to declare that you are medically fit. Generally if you can drive a car then you can fly a glider. Pilots as young as 15 can go solo. There are some personal weight restrictions that can vary from glider to glider.
- What Will It Cost To Learn To Fly?
This will vary from individual to individual but it could be around $2000 or more. Initial learning flying fees are around $180/hour. This will include both ground briefings and air instruction. You will also require a Theory Text Book which is free online at the GFA website and a logbook to record your flights can be purchased at the club for $10.
- Are Motorgliders Different To Pure Gliders?
Only in that they have their own motor for launching whereas pure gliders have to be towed or winched into the air. Motorgliders still soar with their motor off but can restart at anytime making them far more versatile. Some motorgliders aren’t quite as efficient as pure gliders.
- How Do Motorgliders Stay Up Without Their Motor Operating?
After climbing high enough the motor is switched off then the skilled part begins. Pilots have to find a succession of “thermals” or columns of rising air to circle in and so climb up to cloud base. Sometimes, in summer, we can ride rising air flowing over nearby ridges facing into a strong onshore breeze and very occasionally, in winter, rise in a wave of air created behind mountain ranges. The challenge is to stay up as long as possible using the smallest amount of motor.
- What Sort of Performance Do Motorgliders Have?
They have conventional directional controls like any other aircraft and fly at speeds generally around 80 – 90 km/h yet can fly up to 250 km/h. Thermals can go up to 12,000 feet and in summer quite long flights of 100s of kilometres are possible. The secret with motorgliders is that they can fly as a glider or as a powered aircraft – you can go anywhere around Australia if you wish. Some of our aircraft have done just that!
- How Are Motorgliders Maintained?
There is a system of annual, daily and preflight inspections to ensure that the glider is safe for flight. Gliders are constructed to very stringent construction and airworthiness standards. They are checked by licenced aircraft mechanics or suitably qualified club members at regular intervals based either on engine hours or airframe time periods e.g. annually.
- Can You Do Aerobatics?
We do not normally perform aerobatics except for relatively simple manoeuvres. There are performance restrictions on some motorgliders due to the extra weight of the engine.
- Is Gliding Safe?
Any form of aviation carries an element of risk. Gliding less so, as we fly slower and do not need to rely totally on the engine to stay airborne. For this reason, we always try to remain over safe areas in case we have to land. If a paddock landing is required (called an outlanding), gliders can be disassembled and returned to the airfield in a trailer.