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Flight School Newsletter - December 2017

Winter is Coming

Tips and tricks for flying this winter

While many pilots’ solution to winter flying is to stay home, for those who can’t wait until spring, here are some helpful tips to think about if you fly this winter during different phases of flight.


If the aircraft was parked outside, be very mindful of any surface contamination on the wing. Ice or frost will drastically alter the flight characteristics of the aircraft, and may even prevent the wing from producing lift. We recommend bringing the aircraft indoors into a heated hangar several hours prior to flight.

Engine Starting

In addition to taxiway slipperiness, be extra mindful of  the wings as there can easily be snow piles high enough to contact the wing tips. Take the taxi slow as to keep control on slick pavement, as well as to allow time for the engine to warm up to operating temperature. Check to see if the oil temperature needle is active before runup.


The airplane will seem like a rocket ship compared to how it flies in the summer months. Expect to reach your pattern altitude sooner than you are used to. On the take off roll, snow drifts or other surface contamination that may create an unexpected yaw.

The colder the surface, the longer it takes gas to evaporate. When starting the engine the temperature of the engine will determine how easy it will start. The graph on the right shows you how long it would take 5% of the fuel to evaporate compared to surface temperature. This time increases rapidly below 40 degrees F. Priming the engine will likely be necessary below about 40F, which mists the fuel into one or more cylinders so that it can ignite. Most engine manufacturers require you preheat your engine prior to start at or below 20F so that there is sufficient oil viscosity for lubrication.  Keeping the airplane in a heated hangar as long as possible is recommended for smoother startups.


Snow is often low to the ground, and in many areas develops below the altitude visible by weather radar making for surprise conditions. Be vigilant in your scan, watch the wings for signs of ice, and use pitot heat if you find yourself in deteriorating conditions.


Land on a clean runway surface if at all possible, as you will be unable to tell if a snowy surface is good for landing. You may consider offsetting from the centerline to avoid drifting snow that may cover part of the runway. However, look out for snow banks and be mindful of the wingspan. Avoid using the brakes as long as possible to prevent a loss of control from wet or icy patches.

Stump The Chump

Q: I saw a plane fly through the restricted area (R5502A/B), I thought that wasn’t allowed. How could they do that without getting in trouble?

A: R5502A/B is Restricted, not Prohibited airspace. (See 15-3 in the Pilot’s Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge) Which means in certain circumstances, you can be cleared through it by the controlling agency when the airspace has been released to the FAA. In the case of the airspace in question, this is from the FAA Order on special use airspace regarding R5502A and B.

Time of designation. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, 0800 to 1700 local time; other times by NOTAM 48 hours in advance.

Controlling agency. FAA, Cleveland ARTCC.

As you can see, it is not always active. You can contact either Cleveland Center or Toledo Approach to inquire on its status as to whether or not you can pass through that airspace. It is recommended you avoid flying through the airspace without being in contact with one of these agencies.

Student Accomplishments

  • Shannon John Soloed on 11-22 | CFI Jeff Danevich - Congrats Shannon!

Upcoming Events

  • BBQ Flight - January 13th at 3PM, weather pending. Join us to practice your cross country, air traffic control, and winter flying skills on a short trip to Bolton Field in Columbus to enjoy some BBQ. Call us before January 6th for more information or if you would like to sign up for the flight.

  • Get to know your E6B - January 23rd at 6 PM. Learn all about how to navigate your E6B flight computer with CFIs Steve and Ryan. Meet at the airport terminal. $15 dollars per person, snacks and drinks provided. Please RSVP by Jan 20th.

In Other News

Interested in Contributing?

If you have a topic or educational story you would like to share with our community, or a “stump the chump question” for our Flight Instructors. Feel free to let us know, we would be happy to include it in this newsletter.

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