With shorter days and colder nights in winter, it’s that time of year to consider winter operations.
Sporty’s Academy, the flight training wing of Sporty’s, has a Winter Ops Briefing on its website full of helpful information and tips.
Keep in mind, below 20°F in an open field, survival time is measured in minutes. With a filed flight plan it will take the rescue people five hours, on average, to find you. With no flight plan, unless you are talking to controllers, the average rescue time is three days.
The use of cold weather gear — gloves, hats, boots, warm coats, and a cell phone — should be taken seriously, as well as planning routes closer to locations where you’re more likely to find help should you be faced with an off-airport landing scenario.
Any aircraft with frost, ice or snow on any surface should be considered not airworthy and appropriate action taken.
Now is also a good time to review cold weather starting, as well as starter cycle duty limits published in the Pilot Operating Handbook.
If an engine fire should occur during starting, be sure to keep the engine spinning to suck in the fire.
If the engine does not start immediately, the mixture should be pulled, but keep cranking to suck in the fire. Be sure you know where fire extinguishers are located (both inside and outside the aircraft) before attempting a start.
Go to the Winter Ops Briefing page on the Sporty’s Academy website to read another 18 tips on Snow Covered and Icy Runway Operations.