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Winter Ops and Preheating

Below are some general rules for our aircraft:

32 DEGREES:   If the current temperature is less than 32°F, or the average temperature over the past 24 hours is less than 32°, then you should make sure there has been heat on the airplane.  All of our airplanes now use “Hornet Heaters”, which stay on the airplanes 24/7 so the engine is always ready to go. They do not make the engine hot, they simply make it warm enough to be gentle on it for start-up. It’s good to put them in after the flight when the engine is warm.  Make sure those are in, plugged in and working, and that there is a blanket on the cowling and cowl plugs installed to keep in the warmth.

25 DEGREES:  If the current temperature is less than 25°F, or the average temperature over the past 24 hours is less than 25°, it is even more critical that the Hornet Heaters have been in place the last 12 hours or more.  No Champ solo flights. See the 7AC winter ops for more info.

15 DEGREES:  If the current temperature is less than 15°F, or the average temperature over the past 24 hours is less than 15°, then we would rather not have the airplanes flown.  It's much harder on the airplane than it's worth.  There are too many parts on an airplane that need heat. It's hard on gyros, radios, on the plastic pieces, it's hard on just about everything. We simply don't charge enough per hour to have to replace or repair things from operating below this temperature.  The exception would be an airplane that is kept inside a heated hangar.  If you're on a trip and the temps are forecast to be much below freezing, then plan to rent a hangar. 

COCKPIT HEATERS: Please warm up the cockpit!  We have heaters to put inside the cockpit just prior to your flight.  Sure, it makes your flight more comfortable, but it's really all about warming up the radios and instruments!  BE CAREFUL WITH THOSE COCKPIT HEATERS!  Check on them every so often and *don't leave them on all night or unattended*.

STARTING: Please do not crank and crank on an airplane starter. They are not like cars.  If it doesn't start with just a few turns of the prop (4-5) then please quit cranking, because you don't have the right combination of fuel/air. (Probably not enough fuel).  If you have tried repeatedly without luck, STOP before you run the battery down.  If you're new to winter ops then get with an instructor and have him/her show you the ropes on the specific plane you’re in.

RUN-UP: Make sure you give the airplane enough time for the oil temp to get into the bottom of the green arc before you do your run-up.  This may take some time in the colder temps.  Lean the mixture, run it up to a max RPM of 1200, and wait for the oil temp to warm up enough to start moving into the green.  This could take ten minutes.

Be careful pulling the airplanes out of the hangars when there is frost, snow or ice!  Easy to fall and hurt yourself!