Getting Your Plane Ready For Cold Weather
The cold has a dramatic impact on the functioning of just about every machine under the sun. This can include your car, your air conditioning and if you have one, even your plane. Here are 5 effective ways to prepare your aircraft for cold weather.
Preheat Your Engine
You should preheat your plane’s engine prior to starting it whenever temperatures drop anywhere below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. While most engine manufacturers place the minimum starting temperature a bit lower, it’s usually better to be safe than sorry.
Cover the Engine
Snow or, for those of you in Florida, rain can be damaging if it gets into your plane’s engine. It can cause rusting and, in some cases, your fan to lock up. This is yet another reason to preheat your engine. If your fan does lock up due to rain, water, or snow, it’s better to identify the problem sooner rather than later.
Do a Thorough Preflight Inspection
Preflight inspections are something that you should always do. However, issues arise when these inspections become too much a part of the routine. People get complacent, it’s only natural. But it’s important, especially during cold weather, to keep vigilant and to actually pay attention while conducting your preflight inspection. Make sure you’re bundled up and dressed warmly for your preflight inspection because if, for example, you live in Florida and aren’t used to doing your inspections in the cold, you may end up rushing through it or cutting some corners. If you’re bundled up and dressed for the weather, you can slowly and meticulously go about your preflight inspection the way you’re supposed to.
If you’re parking your plane outdoors, you should definitely consider purchasing some quality wing covers. If you live up north, wing covers are essential for the cold weather. If not, however, you should still have them because even in Florida it often gets cold enough to do damage to the aerodynamic surfaces of your plane. It certainly gets hot enough over the summer to peel your paint off! Also, don’t forget to cover your plane’s horizontal tail!
Understand What Your Plane’s Capabilities
Even engines built for the cold have their limits and it’s essential to know exactly what those limits are. That means not only checking the weather of the location from which you’re taking off, but also checking the weather of where you’re planning to land. And you should do this, obviously, before you even take off. If you’re flying, for example, From Florida to North Carolina, you need to know what the temperature is going to be like in North Carolina at the time of your landing. Take our word for it, you don’t want to discover midair that it’s too cold for your engine!
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