Cool Weather Operations

A change in seasons brings with it a change in flying conditions, for both aircraft and pilot.

Some important reminders: Temperatures between 20 degrees and 70 degrees F are conducive for carburetor icing. Be aware of and alert to effects of carbon monoxide poisoning when first turning on cabin heat. Inspect hoses and seals more carefully since the transition from warm to cold weather causes more rapid deterioration. Fuel contamination with water is a greater possibility if the airplane has been sitting partially fueled during warm days and cool nights. Have mercy on the engines: warm them up a little longer and at lower RPM before taxi. Wait before turning on radios, give electrical power time to stabilize and warm up equipment.

Cool weather also brings with it generally lower cloud bases. Lower ceilings increase the hazard of midair collisions between arriving IFR flights popping out of the clouds and VFR traffic in the pattern. Even where Class E airspace is extended to 700 AGL, VFR traffic in the pattern may be as few as 500 ft. below the cloud bases. Also to be considered are the pilots that disregard regulations and fly at the cloud bases. If you are arriving on an IFR flight plan at an uncontrolled field be alert for VFR traffic. Once authorized to switch frequencies, communicate in VFR language on the CTAF. It is equally important for VFR pilots to become familiar with IFR terminology and approach procedures even if you do not plan on obtaining an instrument rating.

Reference: WCFC Ground School

Will Rogers – “If you get to thinkin’ you’re a person of some influence, try orderin’ someone elses dog around.”

These safety tips are provided by the WCFC Safety Committee. They are intended to stimulate thought and discussion about flight safety and do not necessarily represent club policy nor are they intended to replace instruction from a qualified instructor.