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Thread: Winterizing airplanes

  1. #1

    Default Winterizing airplanes

    I am going to be out of town for the winter so my airplane will be sitting on the ramp in Anchorage. What should I do to help the airplane brave the winter? Any suggestions?

  2. #2

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    pickle the engine, full covers including fuse...my two cents...

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    Quote Originally Posted by spamalot View Post
    I am going to be out of town for the winter so my airplane will be sitting on the ramp in Anchorage. What should I do to help the airplane brave the winter? Any suggestions?
    Use anti-rust oil as directed on the container, meaning change oil and fly it for 30 minutes with the anti-rust in it. I fill to capacity for anti-rust, meaning 12 qts in a big TCM and 8 qts in the Cub's Lycoming. I always add Camguard, even to anti-rust oil. Spray some LPS-3 or Corrosion-X into cooled cylinders after you're finished running it (I do not rotate the prop to distribute cylinder oil). I never bothered with dessicant plugs or sealing the exhaust and intake but it won't hurt if you decide to do it. NO covers. If you aren't expecting to fly you're better off leaving covers off. They beat the heck out of the plane and serve no benefit other than to keep it ready to fly. Double rope your tie downs and face NE if possible. Inspect your tie downs and get field maintenance to replace if they're compromised. Use high quality rope and good, secure knots. Use external gust locks only. Ask a neighbor to sweep the snow off after storms.

  4. #4

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    Mr Pid,

    Is your advice not to cover the plane the same for fabric and metal aircraft? I had always heard that covers saved fabric from exposure damage. My crummy initial covers certainly fit the model of beating on the plane, but the nicer ones don't seem to. Just wondering.

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    Covers do more damage than good even in light winds. The only reason to compromise and use covers is to keep a plane ready to fly. That applies to my fabric and metal airplanes. Windshield covers are the worst for destroying acrylic windscreens but even mesh wing covers will wear your wingtip paint off. Snow and ice doesn't hurt a thing unless you try to scrape the plane clean. UV exposure is no factor.

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    For the last 5 winters I have been working away from home. Having owned a plane for the last 3 of those is a heart breaker to say the least. What Mr.Pid has described is exactly what I do to mine. The first year I did install the dessicant plugs, but havent bothered since. No covers. Phillips anit rust oil and camguard. Double roped. Gust locks. I am lucky as my wife sweeps the snow. (can check via the web cams.
    Good news for me is I am not leaving this winter and do not have to worry about it! I have a brand new set of L2500's that are 3 years old now and not seen the snow. The time is near!

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by spamalot View Post
    I am going to be out of town for the winter so my airplane will be sitting on the ramp in Anchorage. What should I do to help the airplane brave the winter? Any suggestions?
    One thing I've seen guys do up here is tie 2x4s to the wing struts so if someone doesn't sweep your wings clean of snow, the 2x4s add some strength to the struts so they won't collapse.

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    Quote Originally Posted by northbird1 View Post
    One thing I've seen guys do up here is tie 2x4s to the wing struts so if someone doesn't sweep your wings clean of snow, the 2x4s add some strength to the struts so they won't collapse.
    If possible, tie theh 2x4 braces so that the narrow edge is against the strut. There isn't nearly as much resistance to a 2x4 placed flat against the strut.

    My $0.02, but it's true.

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    I've never seen Cub struts fold from snow and I've seen lots of snow on Cub wings. Wind from the tail is what folds Cub rear struts. That's why so many of us have Airframes' HD rear struts. I know guys who do the 2x4 thing, too. Usually with duct tape every two feet or so. Which direction the 2x4 is oriented shouldn't matter if you tape or tie them every 2 or 3 feet.

    I prefer to let a few inches of snow to freeze onto my wings. That lets me sweep the bigger snow accumulation off without worrying about the broom hitting ribs. It also helps the plane ride out average wind storms.

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    Good point Mr Pid. One other thing to remember if you have a friend sweep snow, make sure they know not to sweep the paint off with it! I almost found this out the hard way. If its not getting flown, it probably wont need to be spotless clean of snow.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Pid View Post
    I've never seen Cub struts fold from snow and I've seen lots of snow on Cub wings. Wind from the tail is what folds Cub rear struts. That's why so many of us have Airframes' HD rear struts. I know guys who do the 2x4 thing, too. Usually with duct tape every two feet or so. Which direction the 2x4 is oriented shouldn't matter if you tape or tie them every 2 or 3 feet.

    I prefer to let a few inches of snow to freeze onto my wings. That lets me sweep the bigger snow accumulation off without worrying about the broom hitting ribs. It also helps the plane ride out average wind storms.
    Oh, I agree. It's just that 12" of wet snow may add more than 30-psi to the wings, and 24" would add more than 60-psi to them.

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    PSF, maybe. Not PSI. My wings tend to shed wet snow but between me and my neighbors the snow load never gets close to problematic.

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by Grizzly 2 View Post
    If possible, tie theh 2x4 braces so that the narrow edge is against the strut. There isn't nearly as much resistance to a 2x4 placed flat against the strut.

    My $0.02, but it's true.
    The 2x4s I've seen were held on with rope wound around the length of the 2x4 and strut.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Pid View Post
    Usually with duct tape every two feet or so. Which direction the 2x4 is oriented shouldn't matter if you tape or tie them every 2 or 3 feet.
    Wouldn't the duct tape take off some of the paint off the struts when you go to take the tape off?

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    I didn't watch them apply it. I assume there was a buffer layer so the tape wouldn't stick to the strut. That's what I would have done.

    I've seen several Cub struts fail in person. Tried to save a few. Did save one. The others were too dangerous to stick around. Snow loads on wings distribute weight evenly. Wind from the rear of a Cub twists the wing. It tries to force the trailing edge down. With enough wind the wingtip rotates and the rotation moves inward. The strut deflects in a bow thats limited by the jury strut until the force overcomes the resistance and the rear strut folds. With that the wing rotates further and catches the full force of the wind. By that point both airframe and wing are badly damaged. Not much to do but run for cover. Popular Cub mods include spar attach reinforcements, hurricane tie downs, and HD rear struts. All are built for the wind and the damage it does to Cub wings.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Pid View Post
    PSF, maybe. Not PSI. My wings tend to shed wet snow but between me and my neighbors the snow load never gets close to problematic.
    Oops, sorry !!! Yes, PSF ...................

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    Better yet find a friend that is willing to keep the snow off of it etc., and if possible take it out a few times a months to keep it lubed and running. I will would gladly volunteer for taking it for short flights a few times a month and taking care of it if you arein the anchorage area.

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    What about Avgas, is 100ll good for 6 months? I do not think auto fuel is? Snow was my main concern for the first 17 years with my 56 C-180.

    Last August I solved my winterization problem but it was a lot of work to make it something other than a big garage.
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    I agree with the above advice of not using wing covers unless you are going to be around to babysit the aircraft. They beat up the paint and fabric and remove antennas. I switched to mesh wing covers and have never had an issue with them or an engine cover, but i still have to watch the tail covers. I have a real nice windsheild cover that also covers the fuselage that I will no longer use, because in my experience they do more damage than good.

  19. #19

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    My own .02c, and I know that I will probably get heat over it but I am going to disagree with popular opinion. Wing covers are nice, and I use them all winter. Where are you parked? Do you know your neighbor or is your mechanic at the field? I am at Lake Hood and my 9 neighbors and me all get each others planes when it pours. This weekend I went in the heat of it all and someone already got mine. Even if they knocked some paint off or put a ding in my bird (which they didn't), I would rather that then 10 inches on the wings.

    Like I said, probably not the popular opinion, but my .02c nonetheless.

  20. #20

    Default avgas

    Quote Originally Posted by ocnfish View Post
    What about Avgas, is 100ll good for 6 months? I do not think auto fuel is? Snow was my main concern for the first 17 years with my 56 C-180.

    Last August I solved my winterization problem but it was a lot of work to make it something other than a big garage.
    I also have a plane that sits for the winter. I top off the tanks with AVGAS and let it sit. In the spring I fly on the fuel and have had no problems with it (normal precautions, check for water and good long ground run).

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