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Thread: Let's Do Tips...........and Skills for Deep (Real Cold) Winter Flying.

  1. #1

    Default Let's Do Tips...........and Skills for Deep (Real Cold) Winter Flying.

    We always have new pilots and future pilots on this forum. Lets post up some good tips for very cold and/or snowy aircraft operations. From not getting stuck in over-flow to drilling a hole in your dipstick tube, throw in some remote pre-heat in the wilderness, special survival gear for -40 degrees, etc..

    There are no stupid questions, so aspiring pilots ask questions that might save your life.

  2. #2

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    I'm sort of new to winter flying here as was always a seasonal pilot. These are ideas I like that I picked up from locals while learning. I pack the aircraft like I was planning to spend the night anytime i I fly in winter. Keep pair of bunny boots with thick socks, an old air force arctic parka, extra mitts with several chemical hot hands and light weigth tent, sleeping bag and sleep pad besides the usual survival gear stowed in aircraft . Plenty extra matches with fire stater and magnesium starters. I made engine heater out of MSR multi fuel, duck reducer and heater hose for remote preheat. Try it several times in town first. Very similar to Northern Companion. I keep my plug in Reif heater and a small electric in cockpit on a timer if i think i might be flying. Have heard never check fuel sumps winter as will just drip. I don't buy that and have had issues with ice in fuel. Last year lost power over white mtns. Drip or frozen drains can mean moisture, I try get plane in once or twice a winter and sump tanks good after thaw. There is debate on use of Heet. Form on opinion.

  3. #3

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    Why a hole in the dipstick tube? Have one in the breather tube.

    Hoping we get some snow so can try out skis this year.

    For the J-3 and probably other small Continentals a baffle on the air filter helps tremendously to keep that cold ram air off the carb, my C-85 likes to make carb ice at low rpm, rev the throttle several times on approach to make sure it's clear if you need a go around.

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    I have a c90-8 on my champ. It has an MS carburetor, and so far I havn't experienced carb icing, but I use carb heat always below 1500 rpm. during the winter, I keep the baffle over the air inlet and lots of duck tape on the cowl. I'm not sure why you would put a hole in the dipstick tube, either. I read a pretty good thread here on preheating. but I use a 200 watt ceramic space heater, and keep a homebuilt msr heater in the back of the plane every where I go.

    but honestly I don't fly much in deep cold. -20 on the ground is my cutoff, but I think 0 is the coldest I've ever flown. I've been told that "around"-40, ice crystals can develop in the fuel and gather on the gascolator filter, restricting or cutting off fuel flow.

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    Add isopropyl to fuel in winter. Ice crystals precipitate out and make rime ice in your sump. That's evidence of moisture in your tanks. Isopropyl is your friend.

    Make certain your engine runs rich enough for cold temps. Cold air requires more fuel than summer air. Being too lean isn't uncommon for carbs in cold temps.

  6. #6

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    For those that don't know that's Iso-Heet (red bottle) not Heet (yellow bottle). Not sure if there is another aviation brand of isopropyl?

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    The most-important consideration in cold weather flying has nothing to do with the airplane per se.

    Warm clothing and good survival gear.

  8. #8

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    A lot of people warn of the danger of synthetic fabrics in case of a post crash fire, but they are hard to beat for cold weather survival. When I was in the Army the rule for air travel was no polypro as an outer layer. I try to wear cotton or wool on the outer then layer warmer layers beneath that, may buy you a few seconds to get out and you'll be prepared to spend some time in the cold.

    Not much heat in the J3 so pretty much have to wear warm clothes, carry bunny boots as I have a hard time flying in them. I prefer jackets with enough pockets to carry some basic survival gear in, just in case you can't get to the baggage area due to fire or water.

  9. #9
    Member 4merguide's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NunavutPA-12 View Post
    The most-important consideration in cold weather flying has nothing to do with the airplane per se.

    Warm clothing and good survival gear.
    Well, you are kinda depending on the airplane to keep you from having to survive in the first place now aren't ya?
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

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    I guess what I really meant was:

    You can do everything right in terms of maintaining your airplane and preparing it for flight but that will never eliminate the possibility of a mechanical failure or unforeseen weather conditions that put you down somewhere remote. At that point, it's the clothes on your back and the equipment you carry in the 'plane that will (hopefully) keep you alive.

  11. #11
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    Proper clothing and survival gear are common sense. How to avoid needing survival gear is what old timers can help new guys with.

    Don't get stuck. If you get stuck, don't get tired and wet. If you get tired and wet, get into your way-too-warm sleeping bag and recover your energy and wits. Not recognizing you're in trouble is the biggest threat.

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    From Mr Pid
    Not recognizing you're in trouble is the biggest threat.
    YES!!!!!
    Floatplane,Tailwheel and Firearms Instructor- Dragonfly Aero
    Experimental Hand-Loader, NRA Life Member
    http://site.dragonflyaero.com

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