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Winter Flying

Winter Flying

What can you do to prepare for it?

Winter flying can be some of the greatest flying where we live. The air is cold and dense, allowing us to experience more performance out of our single engine planes. There are a few areas of winter flying I would like to review with you;

  • Weather brief - Make sure you get a full weather brief before each flight. Winter weather can be very unpredictable and you do not want to get caught in it.
  • Clothing / Food / water - Make sure even on a warm winters day you take cold weather clothes with you. If for some reason you have to make an off airport landing and you need to spend the night in the elements you will be warm. It is good to take a nonperishable food with you in case you need to make a off airport landing. I personally carry a candy bar loaded with protein. If I do not use it then I dispose of it come spring time. Believe it or not you can dehydrate just as fast in the winter as you can in the summer. Take water along with you. You may never need it but if you do you will be very thankful you have it.
  • Icing conditions – you have learned to ask as part of your weather briefing what are the icing levels and that is a great thing. Yet, Icing can happen when moisture is present. That means on the ground as well. If you are taxing though a lot of water and just 1000 feet above you is the icing level, even in clear skies you could experience icing. The residual water that you taxied though could end up on your control surfaces and freeze at altitude.
  • Preheating the aircraft – We just received back the Red Dragon preheater from the repair station and it looks great. We have add the ability to put hoses in both cowl openings so you get a better preheat of the engine.
    • We preheat when the temperature is below 20 degrees Fahrenheit
    • When the Plane has been cold soaked overnight at or below 20 degrees Fahrenheit even if the current temperature is slightly above 20 degree.

Let's go over some basic instructions on how to use it;



  1. Open fuel cylinder valve SLOWLY. The P.O.L. fitting contains an excess flow check valve which automatically limits the flow of fuel if a sudden surge occurs.
    2. Connect motor leads to appropriate electrical source (Battery Pack in the Office).

                NOTE: Do not attempt heater light up until all safety checks have been completed.



  1. Depress safety valve button. Adjust regulator until a small amount of gas is heard escaping. Release button. Gas should stop immediately.
  2. Start fan motor by activating the fan switch, Make sure blower is operating.

        ******Fan Must Be Running Before Igniting********

  1. Depress safety valve button and hold down.
  2. Press ignitor plunger and repeat until ignition occurs. Continue to hold red safety valve button down for 15 seconds. You may then release red button and burner should continue to burn. If the burner goes out, depress safety valve button and again depress ignitor plunger several times or until reignition occurs.
  3. Hold red safety valve button down until thermocouple activates and holds valve open.

Refer to the following PDF for the full manufacturer's instructions:

Be safe flying and enjoy the magnificent views you get when winter flying.



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