December 2018 Safety Corner

COLD WEATHER PROCEDURES:

  • Do not fly any of the planes if the outside GROUND temperature is less than 5 degrees Fahrenheit (I think Oracle may have the same policy as Jack had which was a 20 degree limit)
  • Make sure the winterization kit is on the Arrow when temps are consistently below freezing.
  • PLUG IN THE TANNIS PRE-HEAT SYSTEMS ALWAYS WHEN TEMPERATURE IS BELOW 40 DEGREES. Basically, keep them plugged in throughout the winter months even if we have a rare day above 40 degrees!
  • The board recently decided to not FILL/TOP the Arrow and Bonanza during the winter months. The Arrow should be brought up to the TABS when refueled, while the Bonanza should be fueled to the bottom of the collars. The Cessna 172 will continue to be TOPPED during the winter. If you need to have a specific amount on the planes for an upcoming cross country, please notify previous owners who are flying the plane so they can refuel the plane to your needs.
  • Things can get much dirtier in the planes in the winter because we’re tracking in sand and grit. Please do a good job of cleaning the planes on the inside. There are small vacuums in the hangar to help you do this.
  • A CO Patch is a good idea if you’re going on long cross countries. They are relatively inexpensive and can be purchased through Sporty’s and other aviation stores.
  • Check the pitot heat on EVERY pre-flight to make sure adequate heat is being generated. It’s not uncommon to have the heating element go out.
  • If you are at any other airport overnight and have it outside: drain the fuel thoroughly, remove all ice, snow and frost, and work with the FBO for pre-heat options. If you are on a long cross country and will be at your location for a few days, see if the FBO can hangar your plane the night before your departure. It may cost a few dollars, but it’s cheaper than deice fluid and keeps the plane out of the elements before your actual departure. Take a long extension chord with you on a cross country. Many FBOs have electrical outlets on their ramp that you can plug in the Tannis pre-heat.
  • Runway conditions, lengths, and widths are important in the winter, especially on cross country flights. Call the FBO and get their take on runway conditions or you may be in for a surprise.
  • If you can pre-heat the cockpit while you get a cup of coffee or do a long pre-flight – DO IT! Warming the instruments will pay dividends. However, don’t leave any heating elements in the plane unattended.
  • Let the engine warm up thoroughly before taking off. Take your time on taxi procedures and before take-off checklists.
  • The “experts” feel avoiding maneuvers that require low power settings (stalls, MCA, etc.) when temps are below 20 degrees Fahrenheit is recommended.
  • Don’t set parking brakes after heavy use of them in real cold weather. Hot brakes will freeze solid. Let them cool first.
  • When taking off in slushy or snowy runways, re-cycle the gear. The gear has been known to freeze in the wheel well.
  • When landing on snow pack or slush, use the brakes sparingly – just like in a car.
  • By the way, 30 seconds of cranking is like 50 hours of flight time wear and tear on the engine.
  • Avoid icing conditions – if you can’t . . . . . higher airspeed, no flaps on
    landings is recommended if you inadvertently pick up ice.

Kevin Broderick, ATP, CFII, Skyhawk Club Safety Officer