AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2020 - 85

P&E

Flight
Time 9

OWNERSHIP

WE MAY WISH THE LONG, languid summer
days would never end, but end they have-
and it's time to prepare your airplane for a
long stretch of cold weather.
For some pilots, that's as simple as
heading south to a warmer climate for a
few months. For those who are stuck in
place, cold weather prep requires more
effort, but the dividends are exquisite.
Any pilot who's dragged herself out of bed
too early on a winter morning knows that
the still, frigid air provides a level of aircraft performance not found at any other
time of year.
BEFORE YOU FLY

Some steps should be taken before cold
temperatures settle in. Pilots living north
of the Mason-Dixon Line change from
a straight-weight oil to a multi-grade or
multi-weight oil, typically 20/50. This is a
thinner oil that is helpful in cold-weather
engine starts and easier, faster spinning of
the propeller.
Does your airplane have a winterization kit? Now's the time to install the oil
radiator cover that blocks airflow to the
oil cooler so that oil temperatures can be
maintained as you fly.
During the airplane's annual, check
the integrity of the exhaust pipe under and
around the heater muff. Your airplane probably receives hot air for cabin heating and
defrosting from a shroud wrapped around
a section of exhaust pipe. Cracks or leaks
could blow noxious fumes into the cockpit
when you turn on the airplane's cabin heat.
Inspect the scat tube that connects the muffler shroud to the cockpit. It may collapse
over time and prevent you from recieving
all the heat you're expecting.
Also, replace carbon monoxide detection stickers in the cockpit, and consider
adding a digital carbon monoxide detector/
warning device to your flight bag. A drafty
cockpit is uncomfortable when temperatures dip, so during the annual inspect
door and window seals for possible repair
or replacement.
Does your airplane wear speed pants?
If you anticipate operating on snowy or
slushy surfaces, consider removing the
pants for the winter. You'll lose a few knots
of speed-true-but you'll avoid situations

in which slush or snow collects in the
pants during taxi and then possibly freezes
during flight. That could cause braking
problems when you land.

Logbook
endorsement 9

WARM AND SNUG

Before any flight, you'll need to warm the
engine and oil prior to cranking. Trying
to start the engine before the oil has been
properly warmed could damage the cylinders. Preheating the engine should not be
a hurried process. The more time you can
take, the better-so if there's a need to be
somewhere right out of the gate, pay an FBO
to pull it into a heated hangar for the night.
Otherwise, be prepared to spend some time.
To that end, a hangar is the optimum
home for an airplane during cold weather.
It protects the airplane from snow and ice
accumulation and, if you're fortunate to
have access to a power source, you can plug
in an oil sump heater and cockpit heater to
keep the engine and cabin from cold soaking between flights. Also, you can plug your
airplane's battery to a trickle charger every
few weeks.
You say you have a hangar but no
power? Bring the airplane battery home
and charge it there. An FBO can perform a
preheat of your airplane's engine, but at a
cost-and they might not preheat it as long
as you'd like. A propane heater attached to
a good-size length of dryer duct can make
a serviceable, if not perfect, oil heater. Such
rigs should not be left unattended.
Alaska pilots, who have sporadic access
to hangars and FBOs, are known to drain
the oil out of an engine and bring it inside
overnight.
No hangar? We feel your pain. Few
things are sadder than the sight of your airplane parked on a snow-covered taxiway
with icicles hanging off the trailing edges.
And few things are more aggravating than
having to dig out your airplane from its
parking space after the airport authority
has plowed. But hey, at least they plowed.
Covers-as many as you can afford-
can help. Wing, tail, and fuselage covers
will protect your airplane and keep water
from collecting (and freezing) on control
surfaces.
While you're paying all this attention
to your airplane, do not skimp on your own
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AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2020

Contents
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2020 - Intro
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2020 - Cover1
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2020 - Cover2
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2020 - Contents
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2020 - 2
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2020 - 3
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2020 - 4
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2020 - 5
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2020 - 6
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2020 - 7
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2020 - 8
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2020 - 9
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2020 - 10
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2020 - 11
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2020 - 12
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2020 - 13
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2020 - 14
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2020 - 15
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2020 - 16
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2020 - 17
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2020 - 18
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2020 - 19
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2020 - 20
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AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2020 - Cover3
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2020 - Cover4
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