# Whats the consensus on the Xenos as a viable low performance motorglider?

Discussion in 'General Experimental Aviation Questions' started by addicted2climbing, Dec 4, 2019.

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1. Dec 4, 2019

#### Well-Known Member

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Hello All,

This may have been asked before but with the search not working I get no hits on the Xenos and none even on the Sonex. Hope this gets fixed eventualy.

Being 6'3" tall I never gave the Sonex line of aircraft any thought as I know I would never fit. I always liked the Moni and the idea around the Xenos as well. I test fit myself in Pete Buck's Xenos years ago at Tehachapi and it was doable as a single seater, but add another person and no way. Now with the addition of the B version and even B model upgrades to gen 1 aircraft the Xenos looks possible for taller pilots. I am not looking for Carat or even Grob 109b performance, just something as a midrange fun soaring machine that can also double as a 2 person fun airplane. Heck to this day my favorite sailplane is a Blanik L-13 so if its even 75% as good as a Blanik it would meet my needs. Also with the addition of the turbo to the aerovee engine it could do well up high as an XC machine. However I hear mixed reviews on the normally aspirated Aerovee and unsure if the added complexity of the turbo would make it even worse.

Also with the addition of the B mod upgrade it could be possible to buy a used Gen 1 flying Xenos and make the mods for much less than a full kit and finish sooner. There are 2 on Barnstormers now.

I see myself being in a position to buy an airplane this spring and I am considering something along these lines. Buy a straight tail C172 or 175 and use that to build hours and fly for a 3 person (myself, wife and baby) semi local XC and camping airplane, and also buy a kit that I build over 3 or 4 years that fits an entirely different role than the C172/C175 all for 75% the cost of a used Pipestrel Sinus or less. Are there any Xenos like options out there in a similar price range I am not considering? Used Grob 109?

Thoughts?

2. Dec 4, 2019

### Topaz

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I'm not sure how qualified I really am to be commenting here, but I personally think the Xenos makes too many compromises to be a really viable motorglider choice. Understand, like you, I don't want nor need a Stemme S-10 or a Carat. I've commented a couple of times that I'm looking for something very close to an ASK-14, and that's where my own project is pointed.

The Xenos is a nice machine but I think, overall, it would prove to be a disappointment for you, and a used Grob 109 a mistake. The former seems to be too compromised by its roots to be much fun as a motorglider, too compromised by its span and area to be a useful cross-country machine, and it holds two people when you absolutely know you will be wanting a third seat within the next very few years. The Grob is a nice machine, but they're getting a bit long in the tooth and will be needing a lot of maintenance. It's not like a Cessna that you can just take to anyone.

Me, for what it's worth, I'd go find a good "family sedan" C-172 or similar that you can use to build time and fly with the family - the entire family - and then look for a more purpose-built motorglider or sailplane - even a a single-seater - as a purely recreational machine for a little bit down the road.

YMMV, as always.

Last edited: Dec 4, 2019
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3. Dec 5, 2019

### Victor Bravo

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I don't think those aircraft are "mid-range gliders" with the engine shut down, even with a folding or feathering prop. The long-wing Pipistrel is exactly what you are looking for IMHO, but they're more expensive than any of the Sonexes. Go get at least a little bit wealthy with your current business venture, and then take a ride in the longer wing Pipistrel (with the interchangeable wingtips), and I'm sure you will be more impressed with that both as a powerplane and a glider. To address what Topaz said, you already have found an old 172 family sedan to fly...

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4. Dec 5, 2019

### BBerson

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7. Dec 5, 2019

### PagoBay

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8. Dec 5, 2019

### crusty old aviator

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The Silent S2 is a very nice self-launching glider, but theIr tailbooms tend to snap in half if you land out in a rough patch.

9. Dec 5, 2019

### Victor Bravo

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Why make an off-field landing in a motorglider? I have never owned or flown one, but I always assumed you would operate a motorglider in a manner that leaves you one "save", where you can climb away from that bad outlanding enough to reach an airport (or better landing area). Am I crazy here??? BBerson can you clarify me on these realities with a M/G?

10. Dec 5, 2019

### bmcj

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I’ve flown in a Sundancer a couple of times, but not enough to give a good comprehensive review. Overall, it seemed to handle fine while powered and performed well as a glider when the motor was shut down. I honestly don’t recall which wingtips it had on at the time, but I think it might have been the longer ones. It can’t match the competition class sailplanes, but what motorglider can, except for those few that can do a complete cleanup like the Stemme S10 or others with motors that fold away inside?

Last edited: Dec 5, 2019
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11. Dec 5, 2019

### Vigilant1

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For simplicity and low cost, it seems to me that just using a fixed pitch prop and letting it idle when gliding around (net zero thrust and prop drag) has a lot of advantages. Probably less than 1 gph from a VW. You can buy a lot of fuel/hours of flight with the \$7000 saved on the folding prop. But, maybe the Glider Guild strips pilots of their badge and secret decoder ring if they are caught soaring with the engine running.

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12. Dec 5, 2019

### BJC

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That needs to be its own thread.

BJC

13. Dec 5, 2019

### Topaz

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No, you're crazy everywhere, my friend!

A lot depends on how the pilot is flying the aircraft. Just like a Cessna, the engine doesn't always start on the first attempt so, if you don't regularly leave enough altitude for at least 2-3 start attempts, you're going to find yourself on the ground sooner or later. Pilots get into the "scratch" mentality, trying until the very last second to find lift, and then expecting an instant "save" from the engine. It doesn't always work out that way.

If the engine hasn't been well maintained, it might not start at all, even on 2-3 attempts. Then you're on the ground regardless.

14. Dec 5, 2019

### Victor Bravo

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Yes, that exact scenario resulted in several badly damaged DG-400's soon after they became popular here in the US. I saw one in a repair shop that had to land in a desert that had lava rocks int he sand, up near Bishop, CA. Not pretty at all.

Electric would solve most of that, except for the deployment time for the power system if retractable.

To solve all of the same problem, I have to say that Graupner and the other R/C model companies really got it right with the rearward-folding prop blades on electric gliders. Almost instantaneous thrust with the throttle lever, even from a dead glide. The propeller blades fold outward almost as soon as they start rotating. Some sort of flush mounted Micarta ring or plates on the fuselage skin would keep the blade trailing edges form scratching the fuselage skin.

15. Dec 5, 2019

### Topaz

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You mean like this? http://front-electric-sustainer.com/

16. Dec 5, 2019

### Victor Bravo

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Like that, but the self-launch version that's coming as soon as the magic battery is here.

BTW that page didn't load on my work computer... is their site down or is there some kind of raunchy T&A picture on their home page?

17. Dec 5, 2019

### BBerson

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I would never want an off-field landing. The gear isn't suitable for soft farm fields. Once I shut down the engine I consider it a glider and I have an airport in glide range at all times and have no intention of a restart working. If it does start that's fine, but I don't count on it ever. Most times I just glide to that airport and start it up after landing and taxi in to the parking area. I do that because the engine is cold after soaring and I just like to dead stick land it more than anything else. I don't think it ever failed to start, but it can be tricky not knowing if it needs choke or not and flooding it.

18. Dec 5, 2019

### Topaz

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Weird that it didn't load for you. Works fine on both my computer and my phone.

Anyway, apparently the FES can already self-launch some of the lighter gliders with longer main gear, enough to keep the prop out of the weeds.

From the site:

19. Dec 6, 2019

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Hello All,

Thanks for all the great replies. Topaz, if I have access to VB's C172 or buy my own that takes care of the family aircraft when needed. For the other being more of a fun aircraft that fits an entirely different role, it can be 2 place as finding Kit built 3 and 4 Place aircraft limits my choices. Also if Motorglider/touring than it pretty much ends at 2 place. The Goshawk would be choice number one, but I reached out to Windward 6 months or so ago and its not going to be released as a kit and likely not go in production either. However he did leave it open ended saying if someone really wanted one... Im quite sure whatever that means is that its outside my price range...

There was one Sinus built as a Kit in San Diego but he pretty much begged for the kit to be an option for him. Unsure if it will be an option in the future.

The sundancer looks great, but unsure if I would fit. Its an improved Lambada to fix a few of its flaws and get the VNE back to 119kts. Its also as much as the Sinus in cost and I think the Sinus would be the better touring aircraft.

I have to say the Samba XXL looks great, but they mention extended tips but not what the span extends to with the tips. Only found one video with the engine off. Any idea what these go for?

Last edited: Dec 6, 2019
20. Dec 6, 2019

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