Cold weather starting

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by FORANE, Nov 7, 2019.

  1. FORANE

    FORANE Pattern Altitude

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    It's that time of year again.

    You are away from home, away from a heated hangar tied down outside. When it gets cold, what do you do to save wear on the motor before starting? Or even to make sure it will start at all?
     
  2. GMascelli

    GMascelli En-Route

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    If I can’t get the plane in a heated hangar or close enough to power to plug in the preheats I will pay for a preheat from the FBO.,

    Typically I call ahead and arrange what I need or want, and base my FBO selection on their services.
     
  3. sourdough44

    sourdough44 Pattern Altitude

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    I have moved a small portable generator into position.

    I have also run two extension cords from the nearest power outlet, tow nearer if need be.

    It breaks my heart to go without preheat.
     
  4. Flybuddy

    Flybuddy Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Cold Weather Starting - nope!, the cold weather hasn't started down here yet (Ft. Myers FL), 90 degrees today.
    Seriously though, lighter weight oil, preheat for any freezing temps. Mixed opinions on value of pulling the prop through a few cycles to loosen oil.
     
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  5. frfly172

    frfly172 Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Try to plug it in or get a pre heat from the FBO. However I bring my airplane south to Fla. For fall and winter. I don’t like the cold and neither does the airplane.
     
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  6. CharlieD3

    CharlieD3 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Drain all the oil into a purpose-use Jerry can. Put Jerry can in sleeping bag. Carry same to igloo. Get into sleeping bag with warm Jerry can. Start small fire in igloo. Sleep with dog (or 3) if necessary.

    In morning, pour warm oil into engine. Pull prop through 3-5 revolutions.

    Start engine.
    Pack gear. (Don't forget the dog(s))
    Take off.

    Fly south.... A lot, long time... Til warm.
     
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  7. Shepherd

    Shepherd En-Route

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    The most important piece of equipment on the airfield from November to April
    heater.jpg
     
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  8. Matthew Rogers

    Matthew Rogers Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Has anyone found a lightweight extension cord? My heater is 275 watts (under 3 amps). That means even a 20 gauge cord would be fine for 150-200 feet. If they made one with a light weight braided cover (like the new phone charger cords), I would carry a real long one in my plane for winter.
     
  9. wheaties

    wheaties Pre-Flight

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    Yes, I too believe in the red flyer cart. Where you talking about the dragon heater?
     
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  10. Stewartb

    Stewartb Final Approach

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    Red Dragons suck.

    Most important? Use the proper oil. Next? Learn how much prime your engine needs to fire quickly. If you preheat? Do it right. Oil and cylinders need to be adequately warmed. That takes hours, not minutes.
     
  11. AA5Bman

    AA5Bman Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Traveling, I have carried a 100’ extension cord and been surprised to find that if I plug it into the airplane side and leave the cord looped over the prop, if I call and ask nicely, even some pretty snooty FBOs have been willing to plug it in the morning of departure at no charge.

    At home, I leave the plane plugged in and use a switch box. My Reiff Turbo XP + switchbox setup is pretty lux for not having a hangar.

    PS, for all you non-hangar folks, a $15 dollar weed sprayer and a gallon of TKS fluid is great for wing and tail surface frost...
     
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  12. kgruber

    kgruber En-Route

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    Dilute the oil with avgas, crank!

    [​IMG]
     
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  13. Snowmass

    Snowmass Filing Flight Plan

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    Engine damage from cold WX starting down to around zero F is pure BS. I have started repeatedly in the high Rockies at temps a little above zero with no engine damage. Since I major my own engines I would have seen any such damage; there was none. Porsche 911s are aircooled engines very similar to aircraft engines and Porsche says nothing about a need to preheat. The main winter problem is getting the low vapor pressure AVGAS to fire without frosting the plugs. Thick oil is MORE protective of surfaces. Worry about high temps not cold temps.
     
  14. Zeldman

    Zeldman Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Who you gonna call.??

    Herman Nelson....
     
  15. GMascelli

    GMascelli En-Route

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    Buffalo Joe said don’t leave Yellowknife without it.;)
     
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  16. Dan Thomas

    Dan Thomas Final Approach

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    Take the battery into the sleeping bag, too. It loses a huge percentage of its cranking capacity when cold.
     
  17. Dan Thomas

    Dan Thomas Final Approach

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    Thick oil surely does keep the metal surfaces apart, up until the engine starts and runs and isn't getting oil into the galleries because it's too thick to be sucked up the oil pickup tube into the pump. I've seen engines damaged that way.

    Generalizations can bite.
     
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  18. Bonchie

    Bonchie Cleared for Takeoff

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    Down here, we don't get many full days below freezing (we see some 20 degree nights in the winter though). Our procedure is to pull the prop through a few times. It's probably not doing a dang thing, but whatever.

    I'm a believer that unless you just do it continually, a few cold starts a year isn't going to hurt anything. So if you are down south, I wouldn't worry about it. If you live in a place where it's cold starts for months on end, then you probably already have a pre-heater.

    And if you are out at an airport without one on a trip, I again wouldn't worry about it, because that's the exception. One cold start isn't going to destroy your engine.
     
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  19. GMascelli

    GMascelli En-Route

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    We are sitting at Ft Myers waiting to catch our flight home. It’s been a beautiful week in Sanibel. We have been searching for a winter hide out.... I think we found it.

    I need to find out about hangar space at Page (FMY).
     
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  20. steingar

    steingar Taxi to Parking

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    I have a little heater thingie that goes inside the cowling, keeps the engine warm. In wintertime I travel with it, a long extension cord, and my cowl plugs. Won't keep the engine warm, but it'll keep it from cooling off for awhile. If there's no where to plug in I keep the trip short.
     
  21. EdFred

    EdFred Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    My winter trips that are overnight are to warm weather destinations.
     
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  22. MauleSkinner

    MauleSkinner Final Approach

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    But you have to do the dilution before shutdown on the previous flight, so you have to plan it’ll further ahead.
     
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  23. AA5Bman

    AA5Bman Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I don't know if pulling the prop through before starting helps the engine, but my starter sure seems a lot happier when I do it. If I don't pull the prop through, I get a really labored pause when the engine hit the compression stroke. If I do pull the prop through, the starter seems to get over that hump much easier.
     
  24. Shepherd

    Shepherd En-Route

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    Red Dragon? Not me.
    I don't remember where we got the blower. I'll have to go look around for the info.
     
  25. Shuswap BC

    Shuswap BC Pre-takeoff checklist

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  26. Dan Thomas

    Dan Thomas Final Approach

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  27. Huckster79

    Huckster79 Line Up and Wait

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    Cover the cowl especially if all you have is a sump heater... that’s all I have but covered up and 8 hours later the cylinders are 80 degrees... gotta cover them up or the top Wont get warm with just a sump heater..

    I like my entire engine warm not just thinned oil.
     
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  28. midwestpa24

    midwestpa24 Cleared for Takeoff

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    I think the first problem I see in this thread, is there is a great disparity between what POA members see as cold weather. :D

    Here we can spend months near zero, and a week or more below zero. Preheat, engine heaters and blankets, or heated hangars are a must. Even if not for the engine, for all of the delicate moving parts in the gyros and other parts of the airplane. Not to mention the nut behind the yoke.
     
  29. flyingbrit

    flyingbrit Pre-takeoff checklist

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    You could make your own with something like this:

    https://www.awcwire.com/productspec.aspx?id=portable-cord-spt1-spt2

    14lbs/1000' for 2 conductor 20 AWG plus the weight of the connectors.
     

    Attached Files:

  30. Shuswap BC

    Shuswap BC Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I'm sure that you are correct if i was somewhere that got extremely cold. Thankfully for me in winter I don't fly north of the southern quarter of BC, and it is not like Alaska, Colorado, or other frigid weather places. I pop in my cowl plugs so it stops the cowling from being a wind tunnel, plug it in, and am good to go. The avionics worry me more than the engine on those cold days sitting outside, they are not pre heated at all, where my oil is up to 60F and the rest of the engine much warmer than the ambient air temperature. On start up my oil pressure comes up as fast as a summer day, and I find it starts right up no problem.
    I guess if i lived where we got down to -20F I would be more concerned with it all, and buy a cowl cover to.
     
  31. SToL

    SToL Ejection Handle Pulled

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    Your post reminded me of this fine day in Alaska.

    -40.jpg
     
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  32. AlleyCat67

    AlleyCat67 Pre-Flight

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    I've always been confused by the conflicting instructions on whether/when to preheat. Lycoming states that you can safely start down to 10F without any preheating. Intuitively that seems crazyt. In addition to oil viscosity, wouldn't you also have to worry about differential CTE within the engine? It's hard to believe that tolerances that work at 70F would also work at 10F, but I certainly haven't seen the math. Anyway I preheat below 35 degrees. Since I don't have access to an outlet at my tie-down I use a portable propane generator & run our Reiff heater for 1-2hours depending on how cold its been. Then I monitor the CHT to make sure they're at least around 40 degrees before starting.
     
  33. Groundpounder

    Groundpounder Cleared for Takeoff

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    Is there a home made alternative to TKS fluid for defrosting? That stuff isn't cheap.
     
  34. Shuswap BC

    Shuswap BC Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Brrr.
    I wouldn't leave my house, so no need to worry about flying in those temps. I have flown in as cold as -5F before, that was plenty cold. Typically winter weather when my plane is wherever I flew to that, its forced to be parked outdoors, temps are between 10F and 40F. At home its in a heated hangar. I do take my wing covers if its forecast to snow, its a lot easier than cleaning the wings. A nice warm bottle of windshield washer fluid poured over a surface is a good frost/ light ice remover as well.
     
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  35. Stewartb

    Stewartb Final Approach

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    I use a metal garden sprayer with RV anti freeze. The key to making it work is getting it warm so I put the metal tank on the stove for a few minutes. Works great. Stays warm for quite a while so driving to the plane is no big deal. No pink stains like you'll hear about from guys who've never used it. ;)

    I think my cold temp record for flying was -38*F. When it warmed up to that (it wasn't going to get any warmer) we boogied back home. Trying to keep a cabin warm at -50* is difficult. The last time it got to -45 we had to ride snowmachines out. No fun in that, either.
     
  36. Stewartb

    Stewartb Final Approach

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    The worst cold weather flying day I had was on Christmas Eve about 20 years ago when I dropped one ski though the creek ice in the 180 by myself in -5*. Once you punch a hole in the ice the water flows out and floods the area. Wading in water at -5 with Carhartts for a couple of hours of very hard labor is no fun. I was soaking wet and hypothermic and I took off as the light faded to night. Good times.
     
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  37. James331

    James331 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Preheat IAW the conti cold weather procedure.

    https://reiffpreheat.com/Continental SIL 03-1 Cold Wx Ops.pdf


    If a heated hangar is not available and the aircraft and engine have been exposed to temperatures below 20 degrees Fahrenheit / -7 degrees Centigrade (wind chill factor) for 2 hours or more, and does not have an engine mounted preheating system the following procedure may be used.
    The following procedure is required for preheating, starting, warm-up, run-up and takeoff.
    1. Select a high volume hot air heater. Small electric heaters which are inserted into the cowling opening do not appreciably warm the oil and may result in superficial preheating.
    2. Proper procedures require thorough application of preheat to all parts of the engine. Apply preheated air directly to the oil sump, oil filter, external oil lines, oil cooler, coolant radiator and cylinder assemblies. Continue to apply heat for a minimum of 30 minutes.
    3. Start the engine immediately after completion of the preheating process. Since the engine will be warm, use the normal start procedure.
    CAUTION: If oil pressure is not indicated within 30 seconds, shut the engine down and determine the cause.
    4. Operate the engine at 1000 RPM until some oil temperature is indicated. Monitor oil pressure closely, if necessary retard throttles to maintain oil pressure below 100 PSI. If oil pressure is less than 30 PSI, or
    cannot be maintained below 100 PSI, shut the engine down and repeat the preheat process. Do not close the cowl flaps to facilitate engine warm-up.
    CAUTION: Do not operate the engine at speeds above 1700 RPM unless oil temperature is 75° Fahrenheit or higher and oil pressure is within specified limits of 30-60 PSI.
    5. Run the engine up to 1700 RPM, approach this rpm in increments to prevent oil pressure from exceeding 100 PSI.
    Operation of the engine above 1700 RPM before reaching minimum oil temperature may result in engine malfunction, engine failure, injury or death.
    6. At 1700 RPM, adjust the propeller control to Full DECREASE until minimum governing RPM is observed, then return the control to Full INCREASE RPM. Repeat this procedure three or four times to circulate warm oil into the propeller dome. If the aircraft manufacturer recommends checking the propeller feathering system, move the control to the FEATHER position but do not allow the RPM to drop more than 300 RPM below minimum governing speed.
    CAUTION: Continually monitor oil pressure during run up.
    7. 8.
    Check magnetos as specified in the aircraft POH/AFM.
    When oil temperature has reached 100 degrees Fahrenheit and oil pressure does not exceed 60 PSI at 2500 RPM, the engine has been warmed sufficiently to accept full rated power.”


    Always wanted to try my oil dilution system though..probably shouldn’t lol

    Frankly much south of 30f it’s just not worth it unless you’re getting paid.

    Also remember SARs time to rescue if something happens, if you go down can you make it on your own if help doesn’t come, or as often comes too late?

    C8659643-885F-4E1B-BA77-8E795421C03A.jpeg
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2019
  38. JOhnH

    JOhnH Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    I swear by pulling the prop through, in the opposite direction of normal rotation for a cold start. I have never had it fail to start when I did that. But I have only had to do it when visiting up north. It never gets that cold in Daytona and besides, when I'm home, it is in a hangar.

    Now HOT starts, they give me the willies.
     
  39. Groundpounder

    Groundpounder Cleared for Takeoff

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    I'd be curious to know the SAR times on airplanes with 406b's.
     
  40. JOhnH

    JOhnH Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Ok. When I spoke about cold weather, I was talking about the Smokies. You are talking about the Rockies. I don't think I would ever attempt to start or fly in that weather.