November 2018 Safety Corner

Taxiing an airplane seems like a mundane topic, but during the winter time, it requires
special attention. Keep the following tips in mind during the cold (and warm months!)

  • If you’ve noticed the ice buildup in the taxiways at Millard, you’ll notice that
    taxiing the plane to proper runways can be slippery. Keep your taxi speed very
    slow, so that you have the ability to stop when a plane “appears” from another
    hanger taxiway at breakneck speed OR, for that matter, a VEHICLE.
  • Once you hit dry pavement, go through your left, right, and dual brake test.
    Better to find out on the ground you’ve got one break out or mushy than when
    you land on a slick runway and you really need it. If you don’t test it, you may
    end up in the grass (or snow bank) after landing. It’s not uncommon for one
    break to freeze solid if you taxi through snow and then take off. So that means
    when you land, have it in the back of your mind that one of your brakes could
    have frozen solid and may not allow the tire to turn. When you touchdown, it
    will immediately yaw to the side where the brake is frozen so be prepared.
  • While taxiing at a fast walk, take the time to check your instruments. Is the turn
    coordinator and ball moving correctly? Is the attitude indicator warmed up?
    Does the VSI read ‘0’? Cold can play havoc on the instruments, so give them a
    chance to warm up.
  • Get a feel for the taxiway for grip. If the taxiway is slick, then chances are the
    runway will be the same. Remember, taking off may not be real difficult on a
    slightly slick or patchy runway, but landing can be an altogether different story
    when trying to maintain directional control. When taxiing out onto the runway,
    look down the runway to see if conditions are the same. If you’re not sure,
    there’s nothing wrong with a fast taxi down the runway to gauge the conditions
    of the pavement. It will only cost a few dollars in fuel instead of possibly your
    life later.
  • If the temperature is below 10 degrees F, I would recommend choosing another
    day to fly. If it drops to 5 degrees or less, club rules forbid any flying. Also,
    make sure the planes are plugged in and are topped off after each flight this
    winter season.

AS A REMINDER, PLEASE MAKE SURE THE HANGAR DOORS ARE
COMPLETELY UP BEFORE ATTEMPTING TO PUT THE PLANES AWAY.
IT’S VERY EASY TO THINK “OH, I’LL CLEAR IT” AS THE DOOR IS BEING
RAISED. NO YOU WON’T. IT’S LOWER THAN YOU THINK. WAIT UNTIL
YOU DON’T HEAR OR SEE THE DOOR BEING RAISED ANY MORE AND
CHECK TO MAKE SURE IT’S AS HIGH AS IT WILL GO (THE RED MARKS
ON THE SIDE WILL INDICATE THAT). ALSO, PLEASE MAKE SURE YOU
KEEP THE MAINS ON THE YELLOW LINE BEFORE TRANSITIONING TO
THE MIDDLE RED LINE (TO LINE UP THE TAIL) WHEN PUTTING IT BACK
INTO THE HANGER.

REMEMBER TO PLUG IN THE TANNIS PRE-HEAT, TRICKLE
CHARGER (C-172 & BONANZA), AND,TURN LIGHTS OFF BEFORE
LEAVING.

Kevin Broderick, ATP, CFII and Skyhawk Flying Club Safety Officer