Certain aircraft seem to be more prone to ice than others, we have found our Auster to be a frequent victim, and Jabiru’s also seem prone to it. Given the small carburetor in the Jabiru, it is important to apply carby heat immediately if rough running develops, and pays to put it on occasionally during flight just to check. If you know the probability from the chart, you are much more likely to keep on top of the icing problem, and it won’t be able to sneak up and bite you. Other things to keep in mind for winter flying, especially when your aircraft has had a prolonged period on the ground:
- Remove all ice from the aircraft prior to flight; even a small amount left behind can be disastrous.
- If using MOGAS (Unleaded), make sure it’s free of ethanol, and fresh. MOGAS has a very short shelf-life. If in doubt, run the old fuel in your car/mower and put some fresh fuel in the aircraft.
- Check carefully for contamination of fuel, even in a hangar water can make its way into the fuel tanks.
- If you are lucky enough to have cabin heat, check the ducting and controls for defects. It might seem just a luxury item, but defective cabin heat can be deadly. Install a carbon monoxide detector to be extra sure.
- Take extra care to warm-up your engine to operating temperatures prior to applying power to avoid premature wear.
- Fogged up windows can be difficult to clear on the ground, take extra care taxiing and have a chammoi within reach to wipe them clear.
- Be extra careful to check the conditions of the runways you intend using. Also check your alternates are servicable in case of a diversion.
- Plan for bad weather. Watch the weather closely before you leave, get updates while you are in the air, and make sure you always have a plan B.