Glider aircraft equipped with a motor with fixed or full feathering propellers are generally classified as Touring Motor Gliders (TMGs). TMGs can take off and cruise like an airplane or soar with power off, like a glider. They are fitted with front-mounted engines, similar to a small airplane. The large wingspans of TMGs provide a moderate gliding performance, not as good as that of unpowered gliders.

Most Touring Motor Gliders (TMGs) are designed with engines of 80 to 100 hp (75 kW) and typically cruise (under power) at 85–100 knots (190 km/h). Most have fuel tanks capable of holding 50 and up to 100 liters (13 to 26 US gallons) of fuel, giving a range under power of up to 450 nautical miles (approximately 830 kilometers). Modern TMGs like the Phoenix Air Phoenix are capable of higher speeds and longer range under power.

Some TMGs are equipped with folding wings to allow them to fit in standard small airplane T-hangars. Tow hooks are unnecessary, since aircraft with self-launch ability do not require access to winch or tow plane for launching like a conventional glider.

Some TMGs, like the Europa or the Phoenix, can also be supplied with interchangeable wings or wingtips so that they can be flown as a standard touring aircraft as well as a TMG.

The landing gear configuration on TMGs usually incorporates two fixed main wheels, allowing it to be taxied on the ground without a wing walker. While some TMGs have only one main wheel, with auxiliary trolley wheels on the wings for taxiing, it is becoming more common to find them being manufactured with tricycle and conventional (two fixed main wheels – i.e. a "tail-dragger") landing gear configurations.

Since the additional drag of the stopped propeller and landing gear reduces their gliding performance, TMGs are seldom used in competition.

history | excerpt history