To cold to fly....

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by GBSoren, Dec 25, 2017.

  1. TommyG

    TommyG Cleared for Takeoff

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    It's not too bad when I sit in my car with the heat watching my student pre flight.
     
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  2. GRG55

    GRG55 En-Route

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    30 deg F in Nipomo? Seriously?? :eek:
     
  3. Vance Breese

    Vance Breese Line Up and Wait

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    More than once it has been below 30 degrees going over the San Marcos Pass near Santa Barbara.

    As you can see in the pictures there is snow on the hills above Upland in January.

    These are both places I need to use my radio and transponder.

    Thirty degrees along the route is my limit for take-off. I have encountered temperatures into the low twenties while flying.
     

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  4. Hank S

    Hank S En-Route

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    Neighbors in a previous town had indoor Great Pyrenees, and they loved to sleep in the yard while it was snowing. Every now and then the dogs would stand up, shake, chase around, then make a new nest in the snow and lay down happily for another nap.
     
  5. Dana

    Dana Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Flying open cockpit airplanes, 40F is my lower limit, and that's a short flight, maybe twice around the pattern just to get my "fix", anything more and I can't feel my fingers by the time I land. But I'll happily go backpacking and camp out in 10F or colder...
     
  6. Doug F

    Doug F Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Wool is your friend. It keeps you warm even if it gets wet and can actually help keep you cool when it's hot. I prefer 'smart wools' that aren't scratchy. They cost a bit of coin but it's a great investment.
     
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  7. Clark1961

    Clark1961 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Great Pyrenees - the only dog ya gotta roll up the window to keep them from leaning in to say hello.
     
  8. Let'sgoflying!

    Let'sgoflying! Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Were you my instructor?? About 1977? I would be busting the tires out of the ice, scraping 3" of rime below 6" of crusted snow from the airplane, running a propane cowl heater, heating up frosted plugs, battery boost, preheated oil, finally get it going by sunup and my instructor would hop in all comfortable from the car or fbo, sipping his hot coffee. Or maybe you're all like that!
     
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  9. Clark1961

    Clark1961 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    What’s yer point?
     
  10. mscard88

    mscard88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Uh, what's wrong with that? :popcorn:
     
  11. Lando

    Lando Pre-Flight

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    Anything less than about -10F with wind gets a little unpleasant. If it’s -5F, sunny and no wind - that’s not a bad winter day around here though! Cold winter days mean great performance and fairly thin layers that can easily be flown through without icing concerns. As long as you dresss appropriately, winter flying can be some of the smoothest and most enjoyable of all.
     
  12. alaskan9974

    alaskan9974 Pre-Flight

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    Coldest this year was around -35f ambient. Has been a pretty warm year.

    Preheat for a few hours, hit the preoiler to get the oil pressure up and the engine fires right up, just make sure to get the engine up to temp before take off. Most piston aircraft oil is nothing more then sludge at those temps when cold.

    Biggest factor is wings frosting up.
     
  13. charheep

    charheep Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I heard (or was more likely told) that below 20F was really hard on the gyro's. That unless you had a pre-heat for the avionics or interior, that it wasnt recommended. Any truth?
     
  14. TommyG

    TommyG Cleared for Takeoff

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    Did Mr. Miyagi paint the fence, the house, sand the deck? Or did Danialson???
     
  15. James331

    James331 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Gotta get the good booties

    https://dogbooties.com/
     
  16. Zeldman

    Zeldman Final Approach

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    My moms Akita has been loving the single digit temps we were having earlier.
     
  17. jwyatt

    jwyatt Filing Flight Plan

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    Was just wondering this today as well given the OAT on the ground here today.

    Former rental FBO (her in MN) didn’t dispatch below zero.

    Now that I’m an owner...Heated hangar for preflight, remote controllable engine heater, and good cabin heat mean I’ll go pretty cold if I have somewhere to go, I think the coldest takeoff so far was -15F or so on a return home. Of course with more attention paid to clothing, and arrangements at the destination — is there a place to plug in the engine heater, and/or option for a hangar deice if there’s frost? Cool plugs go in immediately to preserve heat. Any forecast precip during the stopover usually means a cancelled flight.

    Fun flying, I don’t go when the temp is demotivating. I’ll probably brave the cold this week for a burger run or county tour, since I haven’t been up since thanksgiving due to work schedule.
     
  18. yhuubert

    yhuubert Pre-Flight

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    In my drafty non-heated Pitts I've done ~0F / -20C for half an hour or so of aerobatics. Warms you up a bit, but you're so snug and can't move much, so that's where most of the cold comes from, getting your blood vessels stuck. That plus the wind you get blowing on your neck.

    In a Cessna/Piper with heat, much below that is still OK.
     
  19. azure

    azure Final Approach

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    I've flown in below zero F conditions but that was over a decade ago, when I was a lot more gung ho than I am today. (It also wasn't my own plane that I was flying.) Today -10C ambient is about the coldest I will have the plane pulled out for a fun flight, and at that temperature I will not only preheat the engine, but the avionics as well. Colder than that, I would rather not fly - and not just for my comfort, but also to avoid stress on things like avionics, displays, gyros, and what the other poster called "little things", minor mechanical stuff like door locks and plastic parts.
     
  20. NoHeat

    NoHeat En-Route PoA Supporter

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    Wow!

    Now that’s a reason for flying that I hope never to encounter.
     
  21. cowman

    cowman En-Route

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    So here’s a though I just had as I sit in the FBO waiting for a CFI on this 9F day.

    Is there any point in sumping the tanks when it’s this cold? Not like any water is going to come out.
     
  22. Stewartb

    Stewartb En-Route

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    Don’t sump tanks unless you want the jam the quick drain open. Make sure the gascolater is warm before you drain that, too. Isopropyl will keep the ice under control.
     
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  23. Shepherd

    Shepherd Pattern Altitude

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    I'm probably not the guy to be asking for advice on this.
    I'm flying a J-3 Cub in temps close to and below 0 F.
     
  24. Timbeck2

    Timbeck2 En-Route

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    BUMP - because I'm interested in the answer.
     
  25. mscard88

    mscard88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Went up early w/ a student this morning, around 28*. Stubborn 152 (tied down outside) but finally got her spinning. Find out later they have a portable preheat propane-fired cart that does the job in about 10 minutes. So I got that working for me next time, which is nice.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2017
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  26. Sinistar

    Sinistar Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Coldest flight this season has been +4F when I started the plane coming from -12F the night before. Enclosed but unheated hangar. Tannis heater plugged in overnight with cowl plugs and cowl flaps closed. As soon as I arrive I start pre-heating the cabin with a small ceramic tip-switch heater. Then I preflight and get things ready. I don't leave it unattended when heating the cabin. I think I could do this whole ordeal about another 10-15 degrees colder and then the cabin pre-heat might not be enough to warm up the panel.
     
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  27. Zeldman

    Zeldman Final Approach

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    Yes it can be hard on the gyros. In temps less than "0" I have heard the gyros howling like an old air raid siren until they warm up. But I have never heard "not recommended for temps below 20 degrees f".

    I have also seen oil pressure gauges not move off of "0" pressure because the oil in the line is frozen.

    Since I was flying for a living, I wasn't going to cancel a flight just because it is -20f outside.
     
  28. murphey

    murphey Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    When I get to the hangar, I turn on the little ceramic heater on the floor of the cabin while I preflight. By the time I'm finished, the cabin and instruments are nice and warm.
     
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  29. ChrisK

    ChrisK En-Route

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    We do the exact same thing. Works out really well. When it is extra cold I take some time to go to the FBO and use the facilities, chat, etc.
     
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  30. Sinistar

    Sinistar Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Now here is the question....how long do you dare leave it unattended? I do the same, quick trip over to the building the check wx, use bathroom, etc. But after about 5 minutes my mind starts wondering about that cheap little heater.

    For those that pre-heat the cabin I was wondering how big of a ceramic heater you use?
     
  31. ChrisK

    ChrisK En-Route

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    It bothers me every single time I do it, so I do not do it often.

    The heater can is not large. I will grab the info and post it here.
     
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  32. azure

    azure Final Approach

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    When I've done this I test the tip switch first, then yes, after doing my pre-flight I will sometimes leave it running for a quick trip to the bathroom and such. I have even left the airport briefly, though I don't like to do that.
     
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  33. Stewartb

    Stewartb En-Route

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    I've never used a heater in my airplane interiors. I park outdoors in Alaska and I fly in winter. My gyros and instruments continue to work fine.
     
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  34. ChrisK

    ChrisK En-Route

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    Obviously your equipment has acclimated.

    My equipment is a pansy.
     
  35. mscard88

    mscard88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Equipment matters. :rofl:
     
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  36. ChrisK

    ChrisK En-Route

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    I'll be honest. The cabin preheat is 99.5% for pilot comfort :)
     
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  37. Kritchlow

    Kritchlow Final Approach

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    It’s too cold when I try to take a leak by the plane and it won’t come out of my fly.
     
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  38. edo2000

    edo2000 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I did this for many years also. The gyros were pretty noisy when cold and I suppose their lives were shortened some, but they seemed to last pretty much as expected, 5-10 years between failures.
     
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  39. Clark1961

    Clark1961 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Variable up to 1,500 Watts I think. It has thermostat and tip switch so I don’t worry about it.
     
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  40. Zeldman

    Zeldman Final Approach

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    :rofl::rofl::rofl:

    I tried once in -60f temps to see if it would freeze before hitting the ground.

    Not going to happen. Same reason you don't see a turtle in the cold.....
     
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