Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 38

Thread: Preheating question

  1. #1
    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Eagle River, AK
    Posts
    13,393

    Default Preheating question

    Not-so-hypothetical question: If I were to fly out sometime in the next couple of weeks for an overnight trip, would I need to preheat the plane for a mid to late day departure? Let's say that the overnight temperatures were in the low to mid 20s and the daytime temps in the high 30s to mid 40s. With a limited payload, I would rather not deal with bringing along the heater - but I don't want to be foolish, either.

    On that note, any words of wisdom on a lightweight, efficient engine heater for a Cub? I've got access to an older system that we used with a 172 for years, but it is bulky and heavy.

  2. #2
    Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Anchorage
    Posts
    3,293

    Default

    I'd want to be prepared for bad weather. Engine and wing covers and an MSR camp stove and a light aluminum flex duct will be enough to get you out if the temps drop into the teens and stay there. I'd probably start my plane down into the mid teens without heat but some guys won't. Not as a habit but if I need to go, I go. Frosty wings are a bigger threat this time of year. A cool day with a little sleet? You're stuck.

    Are you taking a white gas stove? A few dollars worth of parts from Lowe's makes it really useful.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  3. #3
    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Eagle River, AK
    Posts
    13,393

    Default

    I'd likely have my jetboil along, and could easily enough change over to a different stove. Cool little contraption you've got there. I'll have engine and wing covers - or, I should say I have them and will now bring them along.

    Thanks for the tip.

  4. #4
    Member polardds's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Wasilla
    Posts
    801

    Default

    Several methods Brian. How much do you want to spend? My dad likes the 1000W Honda generator and a750W electric heater. Then he doesn't have to monitor the plane and he can have electricity for whatever he wants too. It can burn AvGas as well it just runs a little hot then. Around $800 and 30 lbs for that set up but the generator has many uses besides just the plane. Feels pretty safe it won't catch on fire so he can go back in the cabin and or tent and enjoy his coffee while it warms up. I like the Northern Companion. It is a MSR multi fuel stove with a basic set up that Mr. Pid showed. Lighter and again around $800. It is nice to have a gas stove for emergencies or a cup of hot cocoa for the kids(Which can be an emergency). It is a little more stable than Mr. Pids and it folds up nice. My sister is a teacher so you may want to go the Mr. Pid route as you probably have a stove and the metal ducting and such won't be that expensive at the hardware store. (Not trying to judge here) The only problem with the stove method is I don't feel comfortable leaving the aircraft while the stove is running. Oil dripping or flammable cowl cover catching on fire does not interest me. You can still find on eBay the old catalytic heaters that would not get hot enough for flame and they can be placed in your cowl cover and supposedly won't catch it on fire. Not sure I would trust the newer ones that use the one lb green propane cylinders as propane can be fickle in really cold temperatures. Or drain your oil out when you land into an appropriate container. Heat it up in the morning and pour it back in to your engine. Will heat the engine up nicely. Can get a little messy.

    A lot also depends on what grade oil you are running. A mix blend or a straight? Something geared for colder temps?

    Lots of guys will start like Mr. Pid says in the teens but that can hurt the engine in the long run.

  5. #5
    Member AK-HUNT's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Valley
    Posts
    1,029

    Default

    http://www.lycoming.com/Portals/0/te...20Starting.pdf

    That's manufacturers recommendation. Worth a read if u have not.
    I'd bring the works like mr pid said myself tho.

  6. #6
    Moderator stid2677's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Fairbanks Area
    Posts
    7,274

    Default

    Another home made I saw somewhere...

    "I refuse to let the things I can't do stop me from doing the things I can"
    Founding Member
    http://www.residenthuntersofalaska.org/

  7. #7
    Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Anchorage
    Posts
    3,293

    Default

    That's my ammo can heater. I call it my Poor Boy Northern Companion. It works great but with the tubes, stove, fuel and ammo can it isn't light. Tougher than nails, though. Personally I agree with polarDDS about the generator and being able to walk away and not worry about a fire. But sometimes simple works, too.

    Seriously, no wing covers is what gets most guys this time of year.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  8. #8
    Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Anchorage
    Posts
    3,293

    Default

    Does anyone use a catalytic heater inside their cowl? I have a Survival Cat, a little cat heater that fits on a 1# propane bottle, but I've never been comfortable walking away and leaving it burning overnight. I've thrown gas on it and couldn't make it ignite but I'm still a chicken.

  9. #9

    Default

    I have used the coleman catalytic propane heaters an awful lot on my cub. I had to trim away some of the plastic housing and also have a modified rear engine baffling in order to provide clearance to fit the heater in on the right side of the engine.
    Only catch is it produces a lot of moisture in the engine area. I always make sure I fly it after preheating and get it nice and toasty to get rid of that moisture.
    Another note on preheating- I always make sure I have 2 ways to preheat. 2 different stoves or preheaters.
    One breaks and your still covered. It gets colder than you think you can fire up both heaters.

  10. #10
    Member Float Pilot's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Kachemak Bay Alaska
    Posts
    4,217

    Default

    I still have my old metal drum heater that uses a camp stove.
    Plus my red-dragon heater for here at home.

    Not preheating can cause some real problems in the cold. I once set my PA-12s engine compartment on fire.

    I had failed to thoroughly preheat. Plus my battery was dying. So I just barely got the thing running and was pumping the throttle to try for more rpm.
    Well, it stopped and then did the firing back spin deal, with a nice back fire. It was dark outside, so a few seconds later we saw light coming from inside the cowling.
    My son and I opened the cowling and the fire really started to spread. So we filled the engine compartment with snow. We had to walk out the next day.
    Floatplane,Tailwheel and Firearms Instructor- Dragonfly Aero
    Experimental Hand-Loader, NRA Life Member
    http://site.dragonflyaero.com

  11. #11

    Default

    I love my Survival Cat that Mr. Pid refers to. Burns forever on a cylinder and I will hook it up to a 10# tank to prevent the engine from getting cold-soaked.

  12. #12
    Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Kasitsna Bay
    Posts
    109

    Default

    I use a Coleman Sport Cat in the Citabria with no fears. Runs all night and then some with a little bottle. Would fit in the Cub just fine. Definately wing covers and engine wrap.

  13. #13
    Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Tennessee
    Posts
    1,461

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Pid View Post
    Does anyone use a catalytic heater inside their cowl? I have a Survival Cat, a little cat heater that fits on a 1# propane bottle, but I've never been comfortable walking away and leaving it burning overnight. I've thrown gas on it and couldn't make it ignite but I'm still a chicken.
    For years, I used a catalytic heater, and used either avgas or Blazo to soak it. I never, never had a problem with it! Though early on I was nervous about it and watched it carefully. I soon came to learn it was as safe as anything available.

  14. #14

    Default

    I have a homemade hood like post #2 fits over my MSR stove and my black cat catalytic heater. I have the old style catalytic heater in my hanger but have not tried it yet. One thing I do is take my battery out for the night and keep it warm, spins over real nice in the morning. If It only got down to 20 overnight and 30-40 during the day I would not worry about preheat. But that is just me.
    DENNY

  15. #15
    Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Wasilla, AK
    Posts
    262

    Default

    I preheat pretty much anytime the temperature approaches freezing. It's probably not necessary but no matter which plane I'm flying I find the engine starts much easier after being heated. If I'm at home (frozen lake behind the house) I use my wife's hair dryer. Takes awhile but does a great job. Plus it's fun to hear her yelling in the bathroom about new oil stains on her hair dryer. If I'm out and about I carry a Northern Companion. I know it's expensive but I bought mine 15 years ago and it's light, compact, works great, and I've made many a meal on it as well.

  16. #16
    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Eagle River, AK
    Posts
    13,393

    Default

    Ok, next question - how long do you preheat for? Some have mentioned leaving one running overnight, but how long is necessary in general? Obviously that would depend on temperatures, but ballpark figure that you normally heat for?

  17. #17
    Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Tennessee
    Posts
    1,461

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Brian M View Post
    Ok, next question - how long do you preheat for? Some have mentioned leaving one running overnight, but how long is necessary in general? Obviously that would depend on temperatures, but ballpark figure that you normally heat for?
    Never checked the time, but while in the bush, and with a sleeping bag (unless carrying an engine cover) over the cowling, I just left mine overnight.

  18. #18
    Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Bush, AK
    Posts
    164

    Default

    I can tell you for a fact that Mr Pids ammo can heater works good. I copied it soon after he first showed pics of it several years ago. Used it for first 2 winters on my 170 with some temps down in the low -30s. Works great and packs nice but like mentioned above you can/will get cold walking around for fear of leaving a burning flame under the engine of your ride home. Now I have 2 of them. One lives in the plane the other at the cabin. Both are backups to the ol Honda 2000.
    As far as time, to me it's a gut feeling. Last time I looked I wasn't in a hurry to buy a new 0-360 so sometimes I have heated for a hour or so and other times it's been on for 6 or 7 hours. When I can feel comfy that not only the outside is warm but the oil and crank and bearings are well on the way to being warm(er) then it's time to get airborne.

  19. #19
    Member High Country's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Eagle River, AK
    Posts
    191

    Default

    I have used the old Wham-O catalytic heaters for years. They are not to large and easy to pack. They burn white gas (no issues in the cold, unlike propane) and fit under the cowl of a cub nicely. I put it in the night before and I have good oil temps the next morning. You can throw fuel on the it while it is burning and it just steams, which seems pretty safe to me.

    You used to be able to find them on e-bay since they haven't made them for a long time.

  20. #20

    Default

    As for time - I like to see the oil temp guage move off the peg on the cub. Your heating from the outside of the engine in, so the crank and bearings could be a bit cooler than what your oil temp probe says. Maybe.
    On the IO-520 I have an engine monitor and like to see 55 to 60 degrees before start up.
    I preheat if the engine is 35 degrees or cooler, I know I can start it up colder than that but I like to take care of my equipment.

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •