To cold to fly....

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

  1. denverpilot

    denverpilot Taxi to Parking

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    I found a nice training video for y’all. LOL.

    USAF apparently thinks raw steak and water are essential for life. (About 5:00 in the video.)



    I like the cheesy sitcom music. Awww, a full string orchestra is here to document my ejection! Sweet! ;)
     
  2. jspilot

    jspilot Cleared for Takeoff

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    Just an interesting aside-- today I had my BFR scheduled for a 8am takeoff. The tempature at takeoff was supposed to be around 12 degrees but at 730 the air temp was apparently -2 Fahrenheit at the airport. On my way out to the airport the flight school called and said they could not allow me to fly today because they require the tempature to be over 15 degrees. I guess they believe engine damage can be done. I did read in the owners manual for the 1985 Cessna 172p( the plane I fly most often) that Cessna does not reccomend flight below -20 degree Celsius. I guess that's why the school has this rule!
     
  3. Shepherd

    Shepherd En-Route

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    I'm bummed. I was supposed to fly the J-3 tomorrow, but they just called and grounded everything. Too cold.
    sigh....
     
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  4. azure

    azure Final Approach

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    I volunteered for a PnP mission yesterday, provided the dog can wait until we get out of the deep freeze. I won't do any non-essential flying in these temperatures. Partly I just don't want to freeze my butt off, but also there is no way my ceramic heater will work its magic in less than an hour in this weather. When the time comes, unless it's a LOT warmer I'm going to make a trip to the hangar the night before to plug in the Reiff heater. I just don't trust the FBO to give it enough time; I think he plugs it in after pulling the plane out onto the ramp, which is usually an hour or so before I get there.

    These are the times I miss having my own hangar with a switchbox hookup so I can just turn the heater on with a text message.
     
  5. nrpetersen

    nrpetersen Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Beware of fuel that has been severely chilled since it was last filtered!

    This was the conclusion I came to 35 years ago after an incident at FCM on a -20 degF morning. I took our 172H on the FBOs ramp from a fellow club member who had flown it about 1 hour. Run up, and takeoff on 27R were normal until the engine faded and quit at about 200 ft altitude. Recognizing fuel starvation, I tear dropped back to land downwind on 9R, the parallel runway. I know they say to never do this, but the forced landing possibilities got better the more I could turn left & I was able to use full flaps & a near vertical bank. I doubt I ever left the boundaries of the airport. I can remember to this day being between the runways in a near vertical back before forcing it onto the runway without going off the end of 9R, --------------- engine still idling.

    I went back to our unheated hangar, took a large fruit jar full fuel sample. It had snow flakes in it. We then removed the fuel line from the carb & found a nearly complete fuel blockage. Added HEET, and in a few minutes there was a major fuel gush like it was supposed to. We confronted the FBO about his fuel, but they had already sticked their tank having heard this on the FCM tower radio. They insisted there was no water in the bottom.

    The local GADO office (Andy Detroit) called me at home that night "there's some things we don't understand about fuel".

    I pursued this with Amoco in Chicago & found that AvGas will dissolve water in small quantities, only to release the water as the fuel is chilled. At 0 degF it can hold about 30 parts/million of water, but less as it is chilled further. It comes out as the snow which we saw in our fruit jar sample. In time this snow will plug the screens of the gascolator. Consider also that fuel in underground tanks is about 40 degF, probably as cold as it has ever been since being refined, and can hold maybe 100 PPM water. The difference is the source for ice, which looks like slushy daiquiri ice. Usually the ice evidence disappears after an accident as the heat of the engine melts the snow into a few drops of water.

    I wrote an article on this that was published in EAA's Dec '86 "Sport Aviation". Yet there doesn't seem to be a lot of publicity about this ice trap that every fews years around here seems to claim another aircraft during a cold snap.
     
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  6. Stewartb

    Stewartb En-Route

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    Cold weather fliers are used to adding isopropyl alcohol in winter because we can’t sump our tanks. Anyone who parks outdoors in winter temps knows that ice crystals precipitate out of fuel and clog quick drains. More time, more ice. Some of us are familiar with those crystals showing up in finger screens and strainer screens, too. HEET (yellow bottle) is not approved in airplanes but isopropyl is. I use it regularly in winter and even in cool fall weather.

    Another issue is that sometimes ice crystals warm in the engine compartment and you get a BB size drop of water in your carb bowl. That little droplet will interfere with fuel pickup by your main jet and make the engine run a little off. Isopropyl is the solution. By the way, Seafoam fuel conditioner is primarily isopropyl. If you ever had good results from that and wondered why. :)
     
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2017
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  7. nrpetersen

    nrpetersen Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Fully agree. It may be common Alaska knowledge but down here in the lower 48 pilots get a deer-in-the-headlight look when it is brought up. I have not seen anything else written on it. Others?
     
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  8. Zeldman

    Zeldman Final Approach

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    nrpeterson, nice write up. Any chance you still have a copy of your article that was in "Sport Aviation"?

    Just normal for me to add 12 ounces of isopropyl while fueling.

    One time I was flying a C-210 from Tyler, Tx to Bessemer, Al. After fueling I found a little water in the left tank. I sumped it several times until the sample was clear, but I didn't like the idea of night time in a single engine with possibly water in the tank. I asked the guy in the FBO if they had some isopropyl. He asked why and I told him.

    Some other person in the FBO jumped up... "Oh no, do not put alcohol in the tank.!! It will eat up the rubber bladder cause the engine to stop running.!!"

    I Just looked at him, "The 210 has a wet wing, no bladder and don't say isopropyl won't work in Alaska or you will be laughed out of the state."

    I asked to borrow a crew car and the FBO guy would not let me use it. So I hoofed it out to the nearest convenience store and bought two 12 ounce bottles.

    As I added one bottle to a tank, the two guys were telling me it would cause problems and I might crash and die.

    Thinking back, I wish that during the runup I had cut the mags to off every now and then for added effect. But no, normal runup, so off I go. Those two guys are probably still standing in Tyler on the ramp with their mouths open.
     
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  9. Stewartb

    Stewartb En-Route

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    I pump my own fuel from a tank in my truck so most of the moisture is filtered out before it goes into the plane but I still get ice in the plane's tanks. Probably from frost on the tank walls. Most cold weather folks are taught to keep fuel tanks full to reduce tank frost. It's less of an issue with newer cars but 20-30 years ago every gas station had a big rack of HEET by the gas pumps. My 180 has bladders and I haven't had any issues from adding isopropyl in concentrations recommended by Cessna and Continental (1% isopropyl, or approx one 12oz can per 10 gallons of fuel).
     
  10. Rusty Henson

    Rusty Henson Filing Flight Plan

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    Come to Mexico!
     
  11. Cap'n Jack

    Cap'n Jack Final Approach

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    Be a bit careful with that "convenience store" isopropanol. That stuff is usually anywhere from 30 to 10% water, though it is possible to get 100% IPA from a drugstore. @nrpetersen alludes to this in his article.
     
  12. Ted DuPuis

    Ted DuPuis Administrator Management Council Member

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  13. nrpetersen

    nrpetersen Pre-takeoff checklist

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    From what I understand (which as a retired ME is very little) about three part mixtures (water, alcohol, and gasoline), even if convenience store deicer is 10 or 30% water (which I again doubt the % is that high) is still able to pull water out of gasoline and keep it in a liquid form so it will flow thru a gascolator screen. Yes, we should only use aviation grade propanol etc, but I don't really think it takes that much deicer volume to get ice/water out of a say 100 PPM gas/water mix. Continental once said 3% alcohol was allowable, which seems very high. The important thing is the addition of alcohol should be shortly before the fuel has to pass thru a gascolator.

    To some extent this problem from 35 years ago has maybe been "mitigated" by the common use of E10 in our US MoGas fuel distribution system. But Avgas doesn't get mixed with MoGas so a trace alcohol content may still be needed to minimize snow and ice buildup in screens with severely chilled fuels.
     
  14. nrpetersen

    nrpetersen Pre-takeoff checklist

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  15. flyingcheesehead

    flyingcheesehead Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I think my personal record was about -25ºF, in a 182. Had to idle for about 20 minutes with carb heat on to melt the ice in the intake air filter - We had an engine heater but we didn't have cowl plugs at that point so *only* the engine was warm.

    As I recall, the engine wasn't overly happy with the situation, but I think the mixture may not have been set rich enough to deal with air that dense.

    Personally, I think the colder temps may have been more of an issue for your air-cooled CFI. If a plane has a winterization kit installed (usually something to block at least a portion of the airflow over the oil cooler, if not other things) and is properly pre-heated it'll be fine.

    I'm not sure what the temperature is, but sooner or later you'll probably have trouble. These days, I keep a space heater in the cabin in the winter, and I run it whenever the engine heater is on, which is pretty much all the time.

    Yes, I run my engine heater 24/7 in the winter. This is one of those old debates in aviation where people don't pay attention to the details. *If* you only have a sump pad, or if you park your plane outside in the cold without cowl plugs, you do risk the oil warming enough to evaporate the water in it and having that water condense in the cylinders. If you have a heater that also heats the cylinders, and you have cowl plugs and an engine blanket, you don't have to worry about that.

    I have an unheated hangar, engine blanket, cowl plugs, and Reiff engine heater with oil sump and all-cylinder heating, plus I vent the oil dipstick so the moisture can escape fairly easily.
     
  16. Stewartb

    Stewartb En-Route

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    http://www.continentalmotors.aero/xpublications/xservice bulletins/pdfs/sil03-1/

    But wait, there's more.

    https://www.lycoming.com/content/operating-cold-weather
     
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2017
  17. Cap'n Jack

    Cap'n Jack Final Approach

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    I see the term now is "deicer". I was using the term, as others did, isopropanol. The deicer shouldn't have any water in it.

    As you wrote back in '86, you don't want to use the 70% isopropanol
    upload_2017-12-29_15-54-32.png
     
  18. Hank S

    Hank S En-Route

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    Working ME here, with 20+ years in medical device manufacturing. We bought pint bottles of 70% IPA by the pallet, for general cleaning. We also bought 100% in brown glass gallon jugs from a chemical supplier, but it begins absorbing water from the atmosphere as soon as it is open. So we poured it into smaller containers for use and capped the jugs, as they were pricey. Pints shouldn't be mkre than $2 for 70%, but the 100% is stupid high.

    Needing some once when travelling, I ran to the local drug store and they had pint bottles of 50% IPA. Made do without it . . .

    The balance of all alcohol is water; the percentage in the label is alcohol.
     
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  19. flyingcheesehead

    flyingcheesehead Touchdown! Greaser!

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    That's true of the ones that only heat the oil... Which used to be the only kind there was. And Lycoming and Continental aren't very good at staying with the times and keeping their docs up to date.
     
  20. Stewartb

    Stewartb En-Route

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    The difference between my plane sitting in 10* unheated and your plane sitting there plugged in? My engine isn’t rusting. Yours is. In a perfect world I’d put my engine in a deep freeze when it was parked in summer temps.
     
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  21. flyingcheesehead

    flyingcheesehead Touchdown! Greaser!

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    It is essential that you fly and keep oil on all the parts, or you're correct, the heat will speed up the corrosion reaction. Keeping it plugged in all the time isn't for the people who only fly once all winter for sure.
     
  22. Norman

    Norman En-Route Gone West

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    When you ass is colder than the local well digger's is it's time to park the plane. Till then, "No big fat hairy deal".

    Thanks, Garfield.

    BTW, We had Superbowl XVI at my home base in the eighties. We were blessed with an ice storm the night before and the runways were greased glass. The airport crew did their best but it was still better used for Hockey than airplanes.

    After some contentious moments with my boss I finally convinced (Convinced? no. told him flat out he wasn't in touch) him the old navy tug we owned would get the job done on the ice Mother Nature decided we needed at the time.

    After what was about to become a "donnybrook" between us I went and bought some hex-head screws to drive in to the tire treads of the tug.

    Turned out ol Normie was the winner. My supervisor had a good helping of Crow when the boss gave me a better bonus than the penis head got for the wekkend.
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2017
  23. Shepherd

    Shepherd En-Route

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    Trying again tomorrow.
    It's supposed to be about 2 F, so I'll bring a snowmobile suit.
    Hopefully it and I can fit in the plane at the same time.
     
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  24. denverpilot

    denverpilot Taxi to Parking

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    You’ll probably be able to wedge in, it’s the seat belts that suck afterward. LOL. Have fun!
     
  25. wilkersk

    wilkersk Cleared for Takeoff

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    I'm always a little curious about when, and why people in my area go to such extremes to "pre-heat" their engines. Lycoming has an operating tip on when to pre-heat. It says that preheating should be done when temps are 10f, or lower, for most models. The Lycoming "76 series engines" must be preheated at 20f or lower. Lycoming's tip also seems to imply that its engines normal operating range includes OAT down to -25f.

    The Navy flying club I belonged to didn't pre-heat their aircraft till it was 20f or below. But, they didn't want us to advance the throttle above 1,400 RPM until the oil temp needle came off the peg. That meant idling at 1,000 RPM, holding the brakes, on the flight line for a few minutes. We even got a 1/10th off the Hobbs for that for that when temps were below freezing.

    That being said, I've found that pre-warming the carb and lower cowl area from which it (my airplane) draws intake air, helps to make it easier to start on winter days. So, how many of you are really "pre-heating" the whole engine and oil, and how many are just warming up the carb to make it easier to start?

    ---Oh wait!.... This was about being too cold for the pilot? ...... Ahahahahaha!
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2018
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  26. Sinistar

    Sinistar Line Up and Wait

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    Ditto. When I checked up on the plane this weekend I looked and our is also a 1500 watt variable with tip switch. It is so tiny I would have thought it less than 1500 watt. I have been thinking of placing it on a old cookie sheet pan. That way if it were to go crazy hot the carpet below would not see the direct heat.
     
  27. Shepherd

    Shepherd En-Route

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    GAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!

    I get to the airfield. It's -5 F.

    I don't care.
    I'm wearing silk long johns, cotten socks, wool socks that go all the way over my knees, lined jeans, a turtleneck, a flannel shirt, a fleece jacket, and a windbreaker over that.
    I have my brand new UN Expeditionary Force "Merry Band of Pirates" hat, and ear muffs, cotton gloves under skiing gloves, and a new pair of cold weather flying boots that fit in the Cub.
    I get my GoPro installed, my brand new Yaesu FTA-750L radio installed, cables hooked up. Everything is ready to go.
    The heater has been on all night, the engine is nice and toasty.
    I pre-flight the plane, everything looks good.
    I unplug the cable and push the plane out of the hanger and out onto the ramp.
    I get behind the prop to start it, and I notice an odd mark on the prop. At first I thought it was just the light looking weird.
    Then I touch it. Its a groove. 1/2 inch wide, and 1/2 inch deep gouged in the wood of the prop hub.
    Someone had put the wrong size cowl hold down pin in and run the engine.

    GAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!!!!!!!!!!!
    Bad words, nasty language. I darn and heck the crap out of everybody and everything.
    On the plus side: I did get to use my new radio to call and ask for them to send out the mechanic. It worked very well.
    They have a prop, but it's going to take them a few days to fix it because the shop is packed full of airplanes in need of wrenching.

    Tomorrow it's supposed to snow, then the temps will drop into the 2 digit - F range and the wind is supposed to be 50 MPH. Then it will snow Monday and Tuesday. Maybe by the end of next week I will, finally, get to fly again.
    "Nobody know da trouble I seen.
    Nobody know da sorrow."

    sigh.....................
     
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  28. mscard88

    mscard88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    upload_2018-1-3_11-59-2.jpeg
     
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  29. Zeldman

    Zeldman Final Approach

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    Then I have to pee.....:(:(
     
  30. Timbeck2

    Timbeck2 En-Route

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    I wonder if he could get his arms down.
     
  31. Shepherd

    Shepherd En-Route

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    This did become a problem a little later.
     
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  32. ChrisK

    ChrisK En-Route

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    Just did my -6F commercial maneuver practice this morning. One important safety tip is that our normal initial lean position is basically at max ICP at these temps. We did the first lean pull, noticed the EGTs shoot up, and even saw a little detonation before deciding that maybe full rich is a good idea when it is this cold.

    I do not recall seeing something like that before, but this may also be the coldest I have flown. It was truly educational.
     
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  33. Shepherd

    Shepherd En-Route

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    That will ease off a bit when things finally warm up in the engine.
    But not much.
     
  34. WannFly

    WannFly En-Route

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    Don't know the answer, but I do have a tanis cabin heater. It keeps the cabin at 45-50 degrees when it's 20 or below outside. That way I am not freezing while starting and I have heard avionics will thank me

    Sent from my SM-G935V using Tapatalk
     
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  35. WannFly

    WannFly En-Route

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    I use one from Tanis, PMA-ed runs all winter long when on ground. Can even be mounted inside cabin and can get the electric source from Tanis engine heater. Mine is connected via an extension chord though

    Sent from my SM-G935V using Tapatalk
     
  36. N659HB

    N659HB Pattern Altitude

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    Not to mention carb "heat." I was up in the Luscombe last Sunday, in temps just below freezing. I pulled carb heat prior to descent and watched as the oil temp dropped from 135 to 120 degrees! I was a little worried about that, but the A65 operator's manual says to avoid prolonged operation at temperatures below 90 degrees, so I guess no harm (120 is the low end of normal for full power operation).

    BTW, I have a somewhat drafty cabin, and carb heat is a joke, so layers of clothing are a must. Although dressed for the temps, my arthritic knees were aching after the half-hour of fun. Shep, you're a tough bird flying in those temps!
     
  37. Jim_CAK

    Jim_CAK Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Chris - What airport are you doing your commercial at?
    I have been going to work on that rating every year for the last 15 years. I have been using the excuse that I don’t have access to a retratable.
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2018
  38. ChrisK

    ChrisK En-Route

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    15G, but I'm doing it in my plane. Skypark just got rid of their R182 but are shopping for an Arrow. Medina has an Arrow as well, and I'm sure I can ask around if you are looking for a rental retract!
     
  39. Ryan F.

    Ryan F. Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Below 15 deg. F I stop having fun.

    I had flights with students scheduled yesterday and today in the Cub and Arrow. Temps yesterday were 5-8, same predicted today.

    There's no fun in that, so we'll wait for a warmer day.
     
  40. Jim_CAK

    Jim_CAK Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Thanks Chris - I did not realize you had a retract. I talked to a rep from Wadsworth 3G3 and they have an arrow. I was just looking for a pirep - Good luck with the training.