Winter Weather Flying: A Brisk Refresher

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From understanding splash lubrication to reduced braking action, winter flying is just... different.

February 2015-

Ready or not, winter is in full effect across the northern United States. Several important operational considerations will ensure you have a safe and enjoyable winter flying season. It's important for all pilots, regardless of their location, to keep in mind that winter flying means making adjustments in your flying routine, starting with preflight.
Here is a refresher provided by the chief pilot and director of flight operations at New Century Air Service (NCAS) located at New Century AirCenter Airport (KIXD) in Olathe, Kan.

PREFLIGHT AND
GROUND OPERATIONS
Engine preheating
Preheating is the most critical aspect of winter operations. It has been estimated that one cold-soaked engine start (starting an engine with air temperatures below 30 degrees F with no engine preheating) is the equivalent of nearly 500 hours of engine time and wear. Camshafts, pistons and cylinder walls are particularly susceptible to wear caused by insufficient lubrication during cold starts.
Most aircraft engines rely on splash lubrication; a splash system is one that depends upon the reciprocating engine to "splash" oil through the engine. When the oil is thick or the engine isn't preheated well, splash systems can't adequately distribute the oil during engine start.

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