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Thread: Carburetor icing in Alaska?

  1. #1
    Member agoyne's Avatar
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    Default Carburetor icing in Alaska?

    What is the secret for flying around in Alaska during the winter months in relation to carb icing? Does the fuel injection, like in the C185, work better?

  2. #2

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    Carb icing is generally not a huge issue in winter out our way, more of a spring summer fall issue. Below +20F the air gets dry enough that there isn't a lot of water to ice up in the carb. But between +20F and +85F, and especially in the 50-70 range, it can be pretty serious. My solution...cycle on carb heat every 5 or 10 minutes on every flight. Clears the carb and on you go.
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    Fuel injection takes care of a lot of problems, carb Icing is one, more precise fuel leaning another. That will give you better engine performance and fuel burn. I prefer fuel injection, thou I have no problems flying an airplane or helicopter with a carburetor, the key is just be observant to what is going on outside and inside the airplane, you OAT gauge is your friend. As a new Pilot, its going to take some time over a few years to get some seasoning under you belt. Take small steps and just do what you skills at the time will allow you to do. After all you don't want to hurt yourself or anybody you love or anybody in general for that matter. I know you mentioned that you are looking at a cabin in the Talkeetna area, 15 or 20 min flying time. You should not rule out making two trips. It that would put you into an airplane that you can handle with your current experience level. Just something to consider.

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    Carb ice is almost never encountered with fuel injection. ALMOST never !!! You're usually safe in wintertime flying, as the temperature is usually below the danger zone. Probably the most insidious temperature is around 50-fegrees F. And especially under reduced power, such as in a glide or an approach to a landing. If there is visible moisture in the air (cloude, usually), reduced power and glides are offering super-cooled air into the carburetor throat where it is funneled down to a very narrow passage. This will produce frost. A good example of this is when you next fill your tires at your favorite service station, just hold the air flow open on the supply nozzle and watch how quickly frost builds up at the opening. The increased speed of the airflow causes it to super cool. The same thing happens in your carburetor. And it can happen in seconds . . . . .

    Remember that warm air is expanded air. DO NOT USE CARB HEAT during takeoffs, as its reduces available poweor. You will very likely never encounter carb ice on takeoff or when under increased power. Be sure to check for carb ice before the takeoff, since it can occur while you're at low power and on the ramp.

    My two-cents' worth - - - - - and it's all general. There may be rare exceptions.

  5. #5
    Member agoyne's Avatar
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    Thank you guys for that useful information.

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