Winter Flying Tips For Pilots of Light Aircraft – Aircraft Preparation
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Winter Flying Tips For Pilots of Light Aircraft – Aircraft Preparation

August 25, 2019

Hello, my name is Ben Lovegrove and in this
video I’m going to read a section of the CAA’s Safety Sense Leaflet Number 3 – Winter Flying. The content has been reproduced here in video
format with the permission of the CAA. To download a copy of this (or any other in
the series) to print off or store on your device please visit INTRODUCTION.
The purpose of this video is to advise pilots/operators
of aeroplanes, helicopters and microlights of some of the problems they may encounter
while flying in winter. AIRCRAFT PREPARATION. a) During the pleasant days of summer, items
of equipment may have ‘disappeared’. Make sure the aircraft has serviceable pitot head
covers, static vent plugs, control surface locks and, if parked outside, proper tie-downs.
Having made sure you have got them – use them. b) Some engines may need the aircraft manufacturer’s
approved winter cooling restrictor to allow the oil and cylinders to reach and maintain
correct operating temperatures. After fitting, keep an eye on the oil temperature/cylinder
head temperature, especially if the weather turns warmer. c) The grade of engine oil may need to be
changed when operating in colder conditions. Consult the Manufacturer’s Manual or Maintenance
Organisation. d) Check that the cabin heater/demister is
working properly before you really need to use it. A faulty cabin heater, either combustion
or exhaust, can allow exhaust gases, including carbon monoxide, into the cabin. If in doubt,
have the heater pressure-tested. Carbon monoxide is colourless, odourless, tasteless, insidious
in its effects and lethal. One of the first symptoms may be a severe headache, drowsiness
or dizziness. e) ‘Spot’ type carbon monoxide detectors
only have a limited life when unwrapped. Use a ‘fresh’ one and read the instructions.
f) The pitot-static system should be checked for water which can freeze and block the system.
If static drains are fitted, know where they are and how to use them. g) The battery is worked harder in winter,
so make sure it is in good condition and well charged. If you’ve had to make prolonged
attempts to start the engine, when it does start allow plenty of time for the battery
to re-charge before using heavy electrical loads. In a single-engined aircraft it’s all
you are left with if the electrical charging system fails in flight. h) Some aircraft require the addition of Iso-propyl
alcohol in the fuel for operation in low ambient temperatures. (See Flight Manual.) i) Check that all the airframe, propeller
and windscreen systems are operating correctly. De-icing systems suffer from neglect and may
prove faulty when required. Leaks may have developed in inflatable boots especially on
the tailplane (due to stones thrown up by the landing gear/propellers), so check that
they ALL inflate properly. j) Make sure engine crankcase oil breather
pipes are clear and free from deposits which can freeze, causing a pressure build-up that
could force engine oil seals out of their housings. k) Control cable tensions may need
to be adjusted. That’s the end of the this section of the
CAA’s Safety Sense Leaflet Number 3 – Winter Flying. If you have any additional tips or
experiences you would like to pass on then please post a comment below. Subscribe to my channel and click the bell
to be notified of the next video in this series. Please share this video within the General
Aviation community so that pilots and student pilots can benefit from the advice.

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  1. Do you have any experience of winter flying and what tips and advice would you pass on to less experienced pilots?

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