Google Groups no longer supports new Usenet posts or subscriptions. Historical content remains viewable.
Dismiss

300lb (130kg) pilot

1,211 views
Skip to first unread message

zzo...@gmail.com

unread,
Mar 6, 2015, 11:33:56 PM3/6/15
to
Hello everybody, I'm a instrument rated private pilot with 120 hours TT, all single engine piston A/C.

I've been meaning to get a glider rating for a long time, mainly because I want to learn soaring and possibly do some light aerobatics on the cheap.

However I've been steered away several times due to the lack of options of gliders that would accomodate my size, height and weight.
I'm 300lbs, 6'3", tall, fat, big, with VERY wide shoulders.

I did contact most soaring schools and clubs here in the SE (FL,AL,GA). My options were limited to Schweizer's 2-33 / 32 if I'm not mistaken.
One of the clubs agreed to take me up, but if I recall correctly they wouldn't have an examiner light enough to stay within W&B for the checkride.

Assuming I manage to get the rating somehow in one of the Schweizer's, what would be my options if I were in the market for a single seat sailplane with respectable performance for light aerobatics ?
Again, I'm 300lbs, 6'3", tall, fat, big, with VERY wide shoulders.
Budget is 20K.

On a side note, how feasible would be for 'this' pilot to get a towing job ?
Fresh CSEL 250 hours
Multi, Instrument, Glider, AG ratings
Tailwheel and 20 hours of pawnee.

If you didn't get the picture yet;
I'd pretty much like to soar, loop, spin and roll for fun while sharpening stick and rudder skills without an engine to worry about (cheap), and build tailwheel time while applying for spray jobs.



Bill T

unread,
Mar 7, 2015, 1:04:02 AM3/7/15
to
Pretty much the only glider I can think you could possibly fly is the Schweizer 2-32. Not a 2-33.
I do not think there are any current production gliders that can handle 300# in a seat.
Most European gliders are certified to 110kg (242 lb US) per seat and a max all up weight of non flying parts that your 300# would max.
Not only is max GW an issue, but also CG.
Even if you would violate the Max wt per seat issue, our Grob 103 max useful load is 400#, so your instructor would have to be below 100#.

As for the Pawnee, I'll have to check my plane, but I think our Max pilot weight is below 300# for CG limit.

BillT

Bill T

unread,
Mar 7, 2015, 1:05:45 AM3/7/15
to
300 # is 136kg

bumper

unread,
Mar 7, 2015, 1:07:23 AM3/7/15
to
Glider with "respectable performance", rated for aerobatics, 300 lb pilot weight, and cheap? This is one of those pick any two moments :x)

300 lbs weight will rule out most single seat composite gliders I'm aware of, as most have an upper seat limit of 242 lbs, simply fitting in will be another issue, though broadness in hips or shoulders can further limit choices.

Compared to renting powered aircraft, renting gliders can be significantly less expensive. But as far as purchasing, I think you are not going to get into an aerobatics capable, decent performing glider, or powered aircraft, for $20K. Maybe a partnership or club with a Citabria and go for powered aerobatics?

"I'd pretty much like to soar, loop, spin and roll for fun while sharpening stick and rudder skills without an engine to worry about (cheap) . . ."

It won't be easy to find "cheap", but as to powered aerobatics, I wouldn't fret about the engine - - if it quits, you'll have the glider you wanted in the first place. Albeit, not such a high performance one.

good luck

bumper

Bruce Hoult

unread,
Mar 7, 2015, 3:39:43 AM3/7/15
to
On Saturday, March 7, 2015 at 5:33:56 PM UTC+13, zzo...@gmail.com wrote:
> Hello everybody, I'm a instrument rated private pilot with 120 hours TT, all single engine piston A/C.
>
> I've been meaning to get a glider rating for a long time, mainly because I want to learn soaring and possibly do some light aerobatics on the cheap.
>
> However I've been steered away several times due to the lack of options of gliders that would accomodate my size, height and weight.
> I'm 300lbs, 6'3", tall, fat, big, with VERY wide shoulders.

I'm 5'11" and about 280 - 285 lb. I'm a (junior) instructor at my club, taking members of the public for their first lesson, and students close to or just after solo standard but not yet cross country rated for soaring flights.

As with any aircraft, a glider's published maximum limits and performance numbers don't stand alone, but form an interrelated web.

Many light aircraft have two or more sets of figures published (for example normal or utility or aerobatic category) with different maximum weights, maximum G loadings, C of G position, takeoff roll, climb rate etc.

Gliders don't usually have that on paper, but in reality similar tradeoffs apply.

The first thing is that 110 kg (242 lb) seat loading limit. That is calculated so that seat belts and mounts will survive a 40 G crash. If you're not planning to crash, or if you'll keep the crashes down to 20 or 30 G then you can ignore that. Some owners may decide they don't want to ignore it ("if you crash our insurance may be declined"), others are more relaxed. Technically, if it was not a contributing factor to *causing* the crash (and it won't be, as such), then there should be no grounds to decline a claim. I've found that Australian clubs are sticklers for this (and thus I haven't been able to fly there) while NZ clubs are relaxed about it.

The second thing is all up weight and weight of the non-flying parts. These are structural strength things. Our DG1000 two-seat trainers are rated for 7 G aerobatics. If you're 5% or 10% (20 or 40 kg) over the maximum weight of the non-flying parts then you're going to be ok if you de-rate the maximum G. Personally, I have no desire to do anything that involves more than 3 G, or maybe 4 very briefly. In soaring glider flying you don't go over 2, other than from gusts. It's also a good idea to de-rate the Vne.

The third thing is Center of Gravity. That's the important one. Going too far rearwards (light pilots) is a killer. Don't do that. Going too far forwards may be slightly bad for performance, as you tend to constantly need more up elevator than normal, however it is not unsafe, as long as you are prepared to use (very slightly) higher takeoff and landing speeds. If you have trouble getting it to rotate and lift off on takeoff then abort. When in free flight, find the minimum possible flying speed (you may not be able to get it to actually stall), and use that as the "stall speed" for approach speed planning ("stall" speed plus 10 knots plus half the wind speed).

In a two seater, the back seat is often much more roomy, and always has a smaller effect on the C of G. Unless I'm flying with someone in the front seat who is themselves over 90 kg (200 lb), I have the DG1000 at pretty much the ideal C of G position (with the tail weight compartment full).


In a small piston plane, overloading is dangerous primarily because of the longer takeoff run (I think T/O distance proportional to weight to the power of 2.5?) and the reduced climb rate. Actually breaking the things in mid-air is not usually the problem.

With a glider launched by the typical powerful Pawnee or winch that is simply not going to be an issue.

Bill T

unread,
Mar 7, 2015, 10:58:40 AM3/7/15
to
Interesting comments from Bruce. Just be aware that any time you exceed the numbers in the aircraft manual, YOU are now a test pilot and risk taker.
Providing rides to the general (unknowing) public, and anything happens causing injury, an unlatched canopy, hard landing, rope break into the trees or rocks, and you have just introduced yourself and your club to a world of liability issues. Same goes with students, who are relying on the experience and knowledge of their instructors.

I agree with you logic on flying to reduced G loads or Vne, but I do not agree with the practice.

This will not happen in my club. I am at 210# and know the max weight of any student or passenger I can take in any glider I fly.
We live in a very sue happy environment now. Why ask for a problem you cannot defend.
BillT

Dan Daly

unread,
Mar 7, 2015, 11:21:01 AM3/7/15
to

son_of_flubber

unread,
Mar 7, 2015, 1:30:09 PM3/7/15
to
My intention is to be polite and kind... being a glider pilot can be a powerful motivation to stay fit and keep the weight off.

You probably cannot have your cake and eat it.

SoaringXCellence

unread,
Mar 7, 2015, 8:18:03 PM3/7/15
to
One of the two place ships that can do what you ask is a Brasov Lark (the -28, I think). When we had it flying (more later) we could have a 200 pound instructor and 300 pound front seat occupant and stay in all limits.
BUT they are mostly at the end of the manufacturers life limits. Ours timed out (by calendar)with only about 1200 hours on the airframe.

If you can find a newer one it might be a good choice.

Bill T

unread,
Mar 7, 2015, 9:47:21 PM3/7/15
to
Based on when most of the Larks were built, I would think that 90% of them have reached the calendar life limit.
BillT

zzo...@gmail.com

unread,
Mar 7, 2015, 9:47:43 PM3/7/15
to
First, I sincerely want to thank you all for all the insightful inputs.

I understand that as always, weight can be an issue and there are many things that can motivate us to stay fit. I'm actually 287 as of now, I've been at 210 not too long ago and my medical certificate reads 308lb. Things do change, and I'd like to keep flying regardless of my weight.

Even not knowing a darn thing about gliders, I knew that my 'performance' requirements and budget were probably way off. My budget is quite similar to that number though. I could stretch it slightly if interesting options weren't too far from that.

Bumper, the issue is burning that precious gas money at 8-14gph and the overall associated maintenance costs with an engine. I assume gliders are way more affordable in the long run compared to airplanes when you factor in maintenance and inspection costs. Airplane ownership is out for me, for now.

Bruce, awesome information. I'm glad you clarified the grand mistery of the 242lb seat restriction.
One of my main concerns was that by exceeding this restriction, the seat could possibly detach from the fuselage if load factor limits were exceeded. This makes much more sense now.
I understand the correlation between maximum gross and load factor limit tradeoffs.

Correct if I'm wrong folks, but assuming C&G is within limits and assuming I can reasonably fit in the bird, soloing in a two seater shouldn't be an issue as they'd likely have a minimum usefull load of at least 300lb.

Presuming I'm correct, I have two additional questions.

1) What's the likelihood of getting a dual sailplane within C&G limits, me being the sole occupant (300lb !) ?

2) Suggestions of sailplanes with roomy cockpits (single or dual) , minimum +5/-3 G (I find it reassuring), atleast 300lb of useful load, and preferably widely available. I'm curious enough to check all the birds that could possibly accomodate me within various price ranges. Budget is 20 or so though.



Bruce Hoult

unread,
Mar 7, 2015, 10:02:43 PM3/7/15
to
On Sunday, March 8, 2015 at 3:47:43 PM UTC+13, zzo...@gmail.com wrote:
> Correct if I'm wrong folks, but assuming C&G is within limits and assuming I can reasonably fit in the bird, soloing in a two seater shouldn't be an issue as they'd likely have a minimum usefull load of at least 300lb.

Yes. You'd be within all placarded limits except the seatbelt one. Which, really, is up to you if it's your own glider. The only situation in which is going to matter is if you crash so violently that you're probably going to have much bigger problems anyway.


> Presuming I'm correct, I have two additional questions.
>
> 1) What's the likelihood of getting a dual sailplane within C&G limits, me being the sole occupant (300lb !) ?

On the two seat gliders I fly (DG1000), the rear seat pilot contributes 40% as much moment arm as the front seat pilot.

So if you don't have a 110 kg person in the back seat then that's 44 kg extra you can put in the front seat while staying at the same C of G.


> 2) Suggestions of sailplanes with roomy cockpits (single or dual) , minimum +5/-3 G (I find it reassuring), atleast 300lb of useful load, and preferably widely available. I'm curious enough to check all the birds that could possibly accomodate me within various price ranges. Budget is 20 or so though.

I don't know what you'd get for $20k. There *might* be Grob Twin Astir around for that price by now. Though twins keep their value as they are cash cows for clubs/commercial operators. We sold two of them, both made in 1978, about 8 years ago (when we got the two new DG1000s) for $40k and $45k.

Bill T

unread,
Mar 7, 2015, 11:36:18 PM3/7/15
to
Grob 103s are still about $40-$45K in value. Especially since all of the L-13s were grounded.
I'll run some numbers, but I'm sure 300# in the front seat would exceed the forward CG limit. No opportunity to add ballast at the tail like the DG1000.
Same with a K-21.
We only have 400# useful load, and no 100# instructor to train you.
I've seen some 240 pounders fill up the front seat of a Grob 103, I can't imagine how a 6 foot 3, 300 pounder would fit.

BillT

Nigel Pocock

unread,
Mar 8, 2015, 9:00:05 AM3/8/15
to
Are there any side by side 2 seaters suitable? that would help with the
cofG problem but not the all up weight. The only ones I can think of are
the T21 (sedburgh), T 53 (capstan), Calif, and if you want something with a
smelly engine Stemme.

Bill T

unread,
Mar 8, 2015, 5:41:19 PM3/8/15
to
Imagine sitting in airline seats, side by side with a 6-3 300# seat mate, and they will want the armrest up because it digs in to him.
No choice to hang into the aisle, there is no aisle, it's the side of the fuselage.
Which means he's going to take part of your seat. Many side by side seating has controls between the seats. It's just not going to work.
He will not fit in a 2-33, he will bust out the plastic side pieces and jam the rear seat rudder pedals.

I've had large potential students visit and the discussion turns to weight. I don't have a glider you will fit in. These are max rated at 242#.
But we are not flying so go ahead in get in. With a little guidance they finally fit into the seat of the Grob 103 and realize they have no room to move and cannot get full deflection of the control stick.

BillT

son_of_flubber

unread,
Mar 8, 2015, 7:16:15 PM3/8/15
to

>
> Correct if I'm wrong folks, but assuming C&G is within limits and assuming I can reasonably fit in the bird, soloing in a two seater shouldn't be an issue as they'd likely have a minimum useful load of at least 300lb.

You also have to get yourself into and (even harder) OUT of the glider. This can be a problem for people that are well under the placarded weight limit. Many pilots bring one knee up to their chests, then push up with one leg and two arms. If you're big and the console is fixed, then your knee will probably not clear the bottom edge of the console. Without the leg up, you'd have to use your arms. Might be possible if you're a body builder. How many 'dips' can you do?




Martin Gregorie

unread,
Mar 8, 2015, 7:39:26 PM3/8/15
to
On Sun, 08 Mar 2015 16:16:14 -0700, son_of_flubber wrote:

> You also have to get yourself into and (even harder) OUT of the glider.
> This can be a problem for people that are well under the placarded
> weight limit. Many pilots bring one knee up to their chests, then push
> up with one leg and two arms. If you're big and the console is fixed,
> then your knee will probably not clear the bottom edge of the console.
> Without the leg up, you'd have to use your arms. Might be possible if
> you're a body builder. How many 'dips' can you do?
>
Well put. I'm not particularly strong, but find that if I can put my
hands on the cockpit rim and push myself and the 5kg parachute I'm
wearing straight up high enough to get my legs out from under the panel
over the rim, then getting out is easy.

That works fine for me in my Libelle, the club's SZD Juniors, Puchacz,
ASK-21s and G103, but getting out of a Duo Discus, which has a relatively
higher cockpit rim relative to the seat, is a lot harder.

Bottom line: if you can't do at least ten push-ups you may find you'll
struggle getting out of the cockpit, and later, when you are qualified
and want to buy a glider, you may have problems rigging your new toy:
wings are heavier than you may think.


--
martin@ | Martin Gregorie
gregorie. | Essex, UK
org |

Bruce Hoult

unread,
Mar 8, 2015, 8:34:01 PM3/8/15
to
On Monday, March 9, 2015 at 12:16:15 PM UTC+13, son_of_flubber wrote:
> >
> > Correct if I'm wrong folks, but assuming C&G is within limits and assuming I can reasonably fit in the bird, soloing in a two seater shouldn't be an issue as they'd likely have a minimum useful load of at least 300lb.
>
> You also have to get yourself into and (even harder) OUT of the glider. This can be a problem for people that are well under the placarded weight limit. Many pilots bring one knee up to their chests, then push up with one leg and two arms. If you're big and the console is fixed, then your knee will probably not clear the bottom edge of the console. Without the leg up, you'd have to use your arms. Might be possible if you're a body builder. How many 'dips' can you do?

I've never been 300 lb, but I've been 285. And many times done 6 or 8 flights with students in an afternoon. I've never had any problem getting in or out of gliders, whether it be the back seat of the DG1000 or a PW5 or Libelle. And I certainly don't do push-ups!

I wouldn't want to do it under a 2 or 3 G loading, but on the ground? Not a problem.

And for Bill T, the only glider I've even flown where I couldn't get full control deflection was ailerons on the ASK13. I understand that's not uncommon.

Bill T

unread,
Mar 8, 2015, 9:39:39 PM3/8/15
to
Bruce, I've had tall pilots in the 2-33. Their knees are higher, they cannot get full aileron deflection without lifting a foot off the rudder pedal so they can put the stick under their knee. I'm 210# and the back stick will touch the seat belt buckle in the back seat. I can only imagine if the 300# can even sit into the front seat bucket, that the stick cannot be pulled full back.
BillT

Bruce Hoult

unread,
Mar 8, 2015, 10:06:08 PM3/8/15
to
On Monday, March 9, 2015 at 2:39:39 PM UTC+13, Bill T wrote:
> Bruce, I've had tall pilots in the 2-33. Their knees are higher, they cannot get full aileron deflection without lifting a foot off the rudder pedal so they can put the stick under their knee. I'm 210# and the back stick will touch the seat belt buckle in the back seat. I can only imagine if the 300# can even sit into the front seat bucket, that the stick cannot be pulled full back.
> BillT

Perhaps fortunately, I have never had the pleasure of flying, or even being in proximity to, a 2-33. I'm pretty sure there have never been any in this country, and back when I started in gliding everyone was training in either Blanik or Ka7/ASK13, all of which I've flown multiple times over the years. Now virtually everyone is training students in glass (my club has been for over 20 years, Grobs then DGs).

son_of_flubber

unread,
Mar 9, 2015, 2:56:12 PM3/9/15
to
On Sunday, March 8, 2015 at 8:34:01 PM UTC-4, Bruce Hoult wrote:

> I've never been 300 lb, but I've been 285. ... I've never had any problem getting in or out of gliders, whether it be the back seat of the DG1000 or a PW5 or Libelle.

But the maximum pilot weight for the PW-5 is 242 lbs.. At 285 you'd be 43 pounds over allowable load. I guess that you're not concerned about overloading the glider.

Bruce Hoult

unread,
Mar 9, 2015, 9:30:01 PM3/9/15
to
The PW-5 and every other glider listed.

And, no, I'm not concerned about 6.5% more than placarded max gross if I'm not going to do aerobatics or fly along a bumpy ridge line at Vne.

Tango Whisky

unread,
Mar 10, 2015, 4:48:20 AM3/10/15
to
Once you have a pilot's licence, you may do whatever you want (btw, vne is not affected by exceeding masses...).
The problem comes before having the licence - at some point the student pilot needs to go solo, and if he exceeds the max load in the seat, or maximum payload, or CofG range, he needs a really dumb FI to send him off. I for my part have told prospective student pilots in such cases that there is no way.

On the max seat load, the Calif A21S doesn't have any limitations. There is just a maximum load in the cockpit which is in the range 180-200kg. I've flown it with quite massive passengers, and space is not a problem (the controls on the center console are a bit forward).

TW

Chris Rollings

unread,
Mar 10, 2015, 5:15:05 AM3/10/15
to
The 242lb/110kg maximum cockpit load started out as the JAR22 airworthiness
requirement for a type certificate. The glider, when it came off the
production line had to ahve a minimum cockpit load, with basic instruments
fitted, of not more than 70kg/154lbs and a maximum of not less than
110kg/242lbs. The manufacturers specification and the type certificate
would specify a maximum weight of non-lifting surfaces and forward and aft
C of G limits. These usually resulted in max and min cockpit loads
comfortably in excess of the requirements. The individual aircraft could
then be weighed and placarded with the actual loads permitted. Some long
time ago the manufacturers got lazy and started placarding all of the
gliders with 70kg min, 110kg max when they left the factory. We used to
re-weigh them when they arrived in the UK and placard the real figures,
usually considerably more generous.

Bruce Hoult

unread,
Mar 10, 2015, 9:13:46 AM3/10/15
to
On Tuesday, March 10, 2015 at 9:48:20 PM UTC+13, Tango Whisky wrote:
> Once you have a pilot's licence, you may do whatever you want (btw, vne is not affected by exceeding masses...).

No, but rough air speed and manoeuvring speed are.

zzo...@gmail.com

unread,
Mar 10, 2015, 9:47:01 AM3/10/15
to
That Calif glider seems massive. I'm curious about the head clearance with the canopy closed though. Quite aesthetically pleasing.

To everyone,
I'd like to thank you all one more time. There's a great amount of information in this thread for all the >3X sized people interested in taking up soaring.

Honest to god I couldn't care less about the seat restriction if it was my bird.
The reality of it as of now is that the vast majority of operators wouldn't dare to risk such a liability, at least in the US, and that is completely understandable.

Still, I did find people greatly interested in getting me up in the air, and that I could do, on the 2-33 atleast, however, I'd still be left hanging because we wouldn't be able to find a DPE light enough for the checkride. For that to happen, I'd have to drop to 260lb.

In conclusion, I'd have to drop 30 pounds, get the rating, and I'd still be limited to flying the 2-33, unless I bought my own bird, which is not likely to happen with my limited budget.

I'm certain that I'll revisit this topic again later on, but for now, the practicality of it is slim.

I'm currently looking into shared ownership of a barebone citabria/decathlon or alike (no electrical, hand prop) as suggested earlier in this thread. I'd be able to have fun doing gentleman's aerobatics for the purposes of gaining stick/rudder and tailwheel proficiency as well as build the time for the CSEL.

You all have a great week !

Tango Whisky

unread,
Mar 10, 2015, 11:23:13 AM3/10/15
to
Le mardi 10 mars 2015 14:47:01 UTC+1, zzo...@gmail.com a écrit :
> That Calif glider seems massive. I'm curious about the head clearance with the canopy closed though. Quite aesthetically pleasing.

I've owned a Calif for some years, done about 600h with it in the Alps. Performance (climb & glide) is absolutely the same as a Janus C, ailerons... could do with some improvement ;-) Very docile and pleasant to fly, great airbrake system for steep approaches (I once had to land in a 100 m field, trees ant the end).
Lots of space in the cockpit, no worries with headspace even for 2 m people.

J. Nieuwenhuize

unread,
Mar 10, 2015, 5:48:14 PM3/10/15
to
Check out Bob's HP24 homebuilts. Price/performance range is great and beefing up the spar a bit (max cockpit load is at the 300lbs point AFAIK) might not be too much of an issue.

Dan Daly

unread,
Mar 10, 2015, 6:08:28 PM3/10/15
to
On Tuesday, March 10, 2015 at 5:48:14 PM UTC-4, J. Nieuwenhuize wrote:
> Check out Bob's HP24 homebuilts. Price/performance range is great and beefing up the spar a bit (max cockpit load is at the 300lbs point AFAIK) might not be too much of an issue.

Good point - spec sheet says it can accommodate a 6'6" 300 lb pilot in 15m mode. See https://www.facebook.com/pages/HP-24-Sailplane-Project/200931354951 or website at http://www.hpaircraft.com/hp-24/

2G

unread,
Mar 11, 2015, 1:39:41 AM3/11/15
to
On Friday, March 6, 2015 at 9:33:56 PM UTC-7, zzo...@gmail.com wrote:
> Hello everybody, I'm a instrument rated private pilot with 120 hours TT, all single engine piston A/C.
>
> I've been meaning to get a glider rating for a long time, mainly because I want to learn soaring and possibly do some light aerobatics on the cheap.
>
> However I've been steered away several times due to the lack of options of gliders that would accomodate my size, height and weight.
> I'm 300lbs, 6'3", tall, fat, big, with VERY wide shoulders.
>
> I did contact most soaring schools and clubs here in the SE (FL,AL,GA). My options were limited to Schweizer's 2-33 / 32 if I'm not mistaken.
> One of the clubs agreed to take me up, but if I recall correctly they wouldn't have an examiner light enough to stay within W&B for the checkride.
>
> Assuming I manage to get the rating somehow in one of the Schweizer's, what would be my options if I were in the market for a single seat sailplane with respectable performance for light aerobatics ?
> Again, I'm 300lbs, 6'3", tall, fat, big, with VERY wide shoulders.
> Budget is 20K.
>
> On a side note, how feasible would be for 'this' pilot to get a towing job ?
> Fresh CSEL 250 hours
> Multi, Instrument, Glider, AG ratings
> Tailwheel and 20 hours of pawnee.
>
> If you didn't get the picture yet;
> I'd pretty much like to soar, loop, spin and roll for fun while sharpening stick and rudder skills without an engine to worry about (cheap), and build tailwheel time while applying for spray jobs.

I think that the larger issue here (no pun intended) is not what glider you will fit in (not many!) but how long you will live. You are morbidly obese and it WILL shorten your life span. Lose the weight, NOW! If you cut 500 calories per day from your current diet you will lose a pound a week (50 lbs per year). This assumes that your current weight has stabilized. If not, you will have to cut more out of your diet. But you probably already know this...

Tom
0 new messages