How much power do you need?
Yes, of course it depends on your weight and glider size/type. As this is a beginner’s guide I will assume you fly a properly sized glider within its certified weight range so let´s skip this for a while.
If you are musculous, you will need more power>
1. start with 15HP if you are 70kg
2. add 1HP for every 5 kg above 70kg
This will be enough to get you in the air. As a general rule, more power = more fun. You cannot really have too much.
The rule above is a good guide. If you are light go for a TOP80 engine or EOS 100. If your weight is around 90kg, 20 HP would get you in the air with a sufficient safety margin for climb out. This is the
minimum you need, now the question is why not have more? Having excess power has pros and cons>
|Pros of extra power for XC flights||Cons of extra power for XC flights|
|Shorter run on launch||More weight|
|Higher climb rate||More fuel burn = shorter time and distance to fly|
|Possibility to fly very fast wings in the future|
low-level fun / slalom addict:
There are many reasons why you will need plenty of power. Actually power is never too much in this discipline. First, small gliders are more fun so you will likely move to a smaller and smaller wing over time. You will probably fly a reflex glider that are known for lower efficiency and need more power. So if you fly a 28 sqm EN-B glider you will probably downsize to 18-20 a few years later (competition pilots fly 15-16). To fly fast you will let the trimmers up and push the speed bar. Believe me, you will need a lot of power.
Secondly, you use the power to push you around the pylon. Once you are in the turn and banked your goal is to make the glider fly slow and push your body around as fast as possible. You want your body to overcome the glider. Glider slowed down and your body fast means small turn radius and a powerful motor will push you out of the turn more quickly. This is the moment when you fly at full power no matter how much it is.
Flying acro is full of ups and downs. The downs are very fast (spiral, SAT, wingovers, …) so after a short while you will find yourself climbing back to gain altitude for the next maneuvers.
So acro pilots either fly with engine off or at full power. With a small engine, the climb will take ages.
Thermalling XC pilot:
Get a small one. You only need some power at the beginning to get yourself up in the air. Then you turn it off and find the thermals.
Conclusion: More power gives you more possibilities to try
other disciplines other than cross-country.
To find out what hook-in system is best for you click here>