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Phoenix U15 or Super Dimona - flying IFR legally in Europe?


I would like to know how much trouble and money will take to get a Phoenix U15 or a 1990 Super Dimona HK36 (Limbach 2400) to fly legally in IFR and night VFR in Europe, if even at all possible. Has anyone done it successfully?

It’s not that I want to fly in these conditions, but when travelling around Europe it would be great to not be so dependent on weather, and if I get caught by some clouds or 1h after getting dark, being able to continue flying to my destination. The Phoenix U15 is a much better Touring Motor Glider than the Super Dimona (SD), but being a ULM I think the chances of being legally certified for non-VFR are very small or inexistent. Not being as good TMG as the Phoenix, being a certified TMG, makes me think that it would be easier to be certified for IFR and night VFR. The SD, might even be used (I think/hope) to maintain private pilots rights for IFR and night VFR.

Any views, thoughts or experiences that you can share?



You can fly HK36 VFR at night or VFR in clouds, the former can be done with your authority approval, for the latter you need Sailplane licence like LAPL(S/TMG) with EASA cloud rating, on Aeroplane licence LAPL(A/TMG) you are likely restricted to VMC

I don’t think you can fly TMG IFR in ATC system? we had to cross Alpha or enter Charlie during wave climbs: it was done VFR with some letter of agreement

Do you have pitot heat in TMG? do you fly NVFR & IFR in SEP?

Last Edited by Ibra at 20 Dec 12:19
Paris/Essex, France/UK, United Kingdom

JFonseca wrote:

Any views, thoughts or experiences that you can share

I don’t know about the authority approval but the type certificate does not allow it
The Dimona EASA TYPE-CERTIFICATE DATA SHEET H 36 states : . Acrobatics, cloud flying, night VFR and intentional spinning are not permitted
Dimona HK36

Last Edited by Vref at 20 Dec 13:37

The Super Dimona flight manual says: “The H 36 DIMONA is certified for VFR flights . (Day) Flights into known icing conditions are prohibited. Approved aerobatic maneuvers are: All aerobatic maneuvers inclusive spin and flights in clouds are forbidden.”.

I am working on my SPL, TMG, Belgian ULM and Radio license all at the same time. I am flying a FK9 for my ULM license and a Super Dimona for my SPL-TMG license. The plan is to have all licenses before summer. If I can fly night VFR and IFR in any of those aircraft I will start working on the ratings after summer. If and when I can convince my wife and kids to fly with me, to rent a 4 seater, I will also need to take the SEP rating.

At the moment this is more or less my pros vs cons list:
Super Dimona (used 1990)
- Much cheaper
- Might be easier to fly legally in night VFR and IFR
- It’s officially a glider and can fly in conditions permitted to gliders but not ULMs
- More expensive operating and maintenance costs
- Low performance
- Low useful load
- Expensive to configure as I want (Dynon HDx + autopilot, + etc)

Phoenix (new)
- Much better plane and glider
- Easier to fit in a trailer
- Low maintenance and operating costs
- High payload
- Can configure exactly as I want
- Much more expensive
- More difficult or impossible to fly legally in night VFR or IFR


JFonseca wrote:

Super Dimona (used 1990)
- Much cheaper
- Might be easier to fly legally in night VFR and IFR

What is the base for this statement?
It’s easy to see in type certificte that Dimona is not allowed to be used for IFR. If you want to do it legally, you must have STC for that… can you find any that is applicable?

I can imagine that flying a TMG can be real hassle to fly straight and level without autpoilot, as it is much more influenced by a atmosfere than a non-glider aircraft.


I didn’t mean that it might be easier to fly.

The reason for this post is to try to understand if it possible to legally fly the Super Dimona or the Phoenix in night VFR or IFR conditions, knowing that both of them, as they leave the factory, are for day VFR only. If it is possible to do, I want to understand which aircraft would be easier to do so (and I believe it would be the Super Dimona) and how much does it cost.

The statement means that I think it is easier to make this VFR to night VFR and IFR change for Super Dimona, than for Phoenix.

I don’t know, and that’s why I am asking! Can it be done, or not? Change an aircraft from VFR to night VFR and IFR?

Last Edited by JFonseca at 20 Dec 15:03

No, it can most likely not be done. Developing an STC for it would probably mean that you will have to build a new aircraft.

A much cheaper solution would be to either keep on struggling with the hassles of VFR touring or buy a properly IFR certified aircraft for less money than you would pay for a TMG.

ESSZ, Sweden

I don’t understand your ambition to start using a motorglider for gaining IFR ratings. Your looking at the swiss knife aircraft solution but that doesn’t exist IMHO :-). I have a TMG rating and FAA IR these two ratings are worlds apart operationally…

Last Edited by Vref at 20 Dec 15:24

Vref wrote:

The Dimona EASA TYPE-CERTIFICATE DATA SHEET H 36 states : . Acrobatics, cloud flying, night VFR and intentional spinning are not permitted

I missed they are EASA types, so they need more than just ‘national authority approval’

JFonseca wrote:

(Day) Flights into known icing conditions are prohibited.

No shit sherlock, all TMG I flew did not have mixture control, no carb heat and no pitot heat…only startup choke

  • The engine runs rough over rich near 10kft
  • The engine does stop in cold clouds

These are ok for shallow cloud layer crossing over typical flat land in England but over Wales & Scotland you do get nervous when you are 100% relying on engine to cross between visual soaring under high cloud base to above clouds on top of some wave system

I think Switzerland offers too much more challenges in terms of terrain & weather: ridge flying in clouds with dead engine, Yikes, Darwin Award !

Paris/Essex, France/UK, United Kingdom

I know! The swiss knife aircraft is my Holy Grail :D My perfect plane would be a motor glider with a 50:1 glide ratio, 300Km/h of cruise speed, certified for night VFR and IFR and with low acquisition and operating costs! A good approximation is the Stemme S12, but unfortunately my pockets are not deep enough to even dream to buy one, and even the Stemme I believe is not certified for IFR and night VFR.

Now, in a more serious note. I will not buy 2 aircrafts – my wife already thinks that I am crazy enough because I want to buy 1. If buying only one it needs to do as much as possible. In terms of gliding performance, because I don’t want to enter in competitions, the Phoenix does a good enough job for me and even the Super Dimona is not too bad. As a touring machine Phoenix is a good one, and the Super Dimona not so good, but good enough for me. When I am travelling around if I can fly IFR and night VFR I will not be caught in a position to interrupt a trip just before my destination because of bad visibility or bad time management (night VFR).

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