Primarily for general aviation discussion, but other aviation topics are also welcome.
Hi all,

I was hoping to get some views / advice about moving from gliding to TMG. To get the obvious question out of the way, unfortunately due to financial and time limitations I cannot do both...

A bit of background about my flying career. So I started gliding in 2016, and have 68h P1 to date and a Silver Badge. I have my fully-owned glider since 2019, which costs me about £1,200 a year between insurance, ARC, inspection, etc. My monthly flying budget is ~£250 (just flying time, maintenance and club membership fees paid separately) and that would be the budget I'd carry forward to a TMG-only life. I have yet to do the TMG conversion but I've got all the hours / experience required to do it this year.

So why I want to move away from gliding? Well, I've worked out that at my current P1 rate / annum, own glider costs and budget available it would have worked out about the same in a TMG, but with a lot less time pressure on the off-airfield life. I've also worked out that at the time I can have available at the club (on average 1 day a week from April to September - weather / bogged field, etc.) I'd almost have to double my average P1 time per flight for the TMG to become significantly more expensive and that requires a lot more time at the club / a big step improvement that family / work pressures may not totally align themselves to. Also, to double the rate of flying would involve a lot more XC flying, which to be honest I find a lot of work with rigging, de-rigging, risk of landing out, long hours, etc. If I can summarise it: I love gliding but it's a lot of time / effort for hobby, it feels like hard work (after a week of hard work...), it's hard to share it with the wife, and at least at my level doesn't seem to be very cost effective.

I have been toying with the idea of getting a TMG rating and just doing power flying. Why? It's relatively cheap, less work to actually get in the air, more chances of actually reaching your flight objective and you can (at least apparently) just decide to go for a flight after a day at work. My only concerns are: wouldn't have my own aircraft (how feasible it is to have a TMG available 'on demand', how expensive can it be to get into a share in a TMG or a microlight?), the 'hidden costs' not present in gliding (landing fees, etc.), that the adventures that you see in magazines like Flyer will not be possible without my own aircraft (hence making it prohibitively expensive in the long run and almost make the TMG rating a 'waste' of time and money on a tight budget), and that flying powered aircraft will eventually not give the same buzz as thermal / wave climbs.

I guess what I need advice with is, is it a good idea to go powered via the TMG route (again, remember the money and time constraints...), what sort of adventures can one have with a club TMG, pros/cons of each option, can it actually become more of flying for fun as opposed to feeling fun but also a lot of hard work for a small amount of flying?

Thank you for any advice!
I went from gliding to SLMG (as it was then) to Group A (ditto) and it worked for me, at least in my opinion. I owned a T61A and it was incredibly cheap flying. Those long wings did limit slightly the destinations but I wasn't then so much in that mindset.

I have no regrets and wonder if I would have coped if I had gone straight into a PPL although that was never the original intention. Baby steps. None of which applies to you.

Go and play and enjoy yourself :)
blackjack_201, Rob P liked this
allout wrote:TMG - just great....
Oxford Sport Flying

I did my TMG Rating (added to an existing PPL(A)/SEP) with OSF and would unhesitatingly recommend them.

Since then I have used the rating to fly a TMG on some decent long-distance touring as well as other fun stuff that typical SEP can't do.

Go for it. :D
For TMG rating on SPL or PPL, go see OSF or MG, both are super nice outfits, the only criteria is drive distance? and if you want vintage Faulkes or shinny Katanas? later on, I am sure you can find one nearby to rent or share in gliding clubs or even in "powered airfields" (one G109 at North Weald?)

Take time to enjoy it, you can visit load of places on the map and for trips some are far more enjoyable in TMG than pure gliders or draggy aeroplanes: Scotland/Wales or Alps/Pyrenees when the winds are interesting

Gliding is ideal when one is very young & very old, but probably too much comittment for someone in the middle of their life, but you will surely come back later :thumleft:

One advice don't fly on 10kts days with passengers or other pilots, while switch engine off or idle allow free flying, you will never see them again unless they are the ones thermaling, even cruising with 75% engine on those days have to be above cloudbase :lol:
blackjack_201 liked this
User avatar
By MattL
Where are you based?

I examine for Motorglide who have a great fleet of Rotax and Limbach Falkes at Bicester and Sandhill, brilliant club set up and you can truly book and fly. Also a Eurofox now if you want to progress on a bit more.
Hi Matt, currently in Derbyshire but likely to move to the Gloucester area later in the year for work. To be honest, I was looking at MG on a proximity basis. Could you give some more details on the booking system? Is it relatively easy to get an aircraft available?

And thanks all for the great replies so far!
Flyin'Dutch' liked this
Hi yes Motorglide is run like a flying club - ops staff and all online booking/payment processing etc so you book a slot, turn up and fly, go home! Or stay around and socialise if you wish. It’s not at all like the gliding club hang around all day ethos.

Give them a shout and you could do a couple of days course to get your TMG as a mini break, you’ll love it!
Flyin'Dutch', Ibra liked this
I currently glide and power fly A/TMG types. My club has a very available Grob 109 and the costs are very cheap if you compare to PA28's C172 etc, it's great to switch off the 'iron thermal' at the front and do some 'proper' flying when the conditions permit. The only downside is, that if you want to go somewhere in a hurry, you aren't going to do it, but touring is great if you have a comfy seat as my old bones are feeling it after a couple of hours now. Ditto to what Ibra said...don't switch off the donk with passengers who aren't familiar with the type as they don't like it! I scared the bejesus out of my mechanic friend who thought we were going to land somewhere off airfield - even after I explained beforehand that the aircraft is designed to do it. He still overcharges me for work. :lol:

I've done pretty much all my flying on motorgliders (starting with a PPL(SLMG) at Oxfordshire Sport Flying -- added SEP much later). I've been in a syndicate for a few years (all the other members are glider pilots who got tired with the hanging around involved in gliding…). Great low-cost flying: I once managed to force 13 litres an hour down its throat when I was in a hurry but it's usually around 10 l/h (obviously less if you soar!). They can make perfectly respectable (albeit leisurely!) tourers -- ours takes two plus 20 kg luggage and has roamed far and wide.

Just do it!
Thanks all for the great advice / feedback. A couple of question from me.

1) from your experience, is 35-40h a year a decent amount to keep me current and a safe pilot, or do you reckon is a bit of a struggle?

2) with an SPL with TMG extension, do you have to meet both the SPL and the TMG recency requirements to keep the license live if you only do TMG, or can you get away with just doing the TMG part of it?
User avatar
By nallen
1) More than enough, I'd say.
2) Don't know -- one for the gliding club guys to answer.

If you're passing Hinton and want to come for a ride in ours (post-COVID), drop me a message.