Resources for instructional purposes
Having spent a few winters in Michigan in its former life, our Archer (N4135W) comes with an internal engine pre-heater to help warm up the oil and cylinder surfaces. It's pretty easy to use and is very beneficial in reducing the brutal wear and tear these engines experience when they are started in below freezing ambient conditions. In fact there is simply no reason any of our planes should have to experience the brutality of a cold soak start. If you plan on flying on a cold day you need to be sure to take care of the plane by either asking the FBO to put it in a warm hangar overnight or for at least 2 hours before your flight. The FBO will tow the plane into a hangar at your request for about $60 (this will be your responsibility to pay), so just give them a call. This is the easiest option and it has the benefit of making the entire plane warmer for your flight, you just need to plan ahead a bit and ask them before your flight.
If you plan on flying the Archer though you do have the option of using the built-in engine heater. The hangar has an extension cord hanging on the left wall (facing into the hangar) by the door. You can plug this cord in to the outlet by the refrigerator (unplug the refrigerator, these circuits are easy to trip). Then you can plug the other end into a little black cord inside the oil filler door (behind the dipstick). This will engage an oil pan heater as well as elements that will warm the cylinder bodies a little bit. The items will not be hot - just a little warm and it's okay to leave it plugged in overnight (no more than overnight please though). One item you need to remember is to loosen the dipstick and leave the filler tube open to the air. As the oil warms up the water vapor in the chamber will need an exit path otherwise it mixes with the oil in the tube.
Gary and Scott put together this brief demonstration video depicting the above procedure so that things are clear. Please take a look so you can see how it's done.
Remember a single cold soak engine start below freezing is the equivalent of about 400 normal starts in terms of wear and tear on the engine metals and parts. At those cold temperatures the metals have contracted at different rates, the oil is hard to move through the lubrication channels, and the battery and starter have a lot more work to do to get the engine spinning. Please help us keep these planes online and flyable even on the cold days - heck that's why most of us like living in Texas - you can still do stuff in the winter.
Checklists falling between the seat and the door? Dropped it and can't find it? Gave it to your granddaughter and she has colored it in neon pink?
No worries because you can keep it right on your ipad in Foreflight. Gary Cooper put together a quick tutorial showing you how to download, save, and preserve the checklist right in Foreflight so you'll always have it just a button or two away.
Please take a look at this video:
A reminder to all that after each flight it is the member's responsibility to:
- Check the plane back in on FlightCircle
- Post engine-shutdown complete: including turning off electrical equipment and the master switches
- Clean the leading edges of the airplane to remove bugs
- Remove trash from the airplane
- Install gust locks and pitot covers
- Install sunscreens
- Ensure that the aircraft is secured with tie-down chains or wheel chocks
- Post flight walkaround to inspect for any new problems
- Squawk any problems you find
- Personal items removed
- Key returned to the keybox
The club keeps a cleanup kit in each airplane. We have blue rags for cleaning the leading edges and red rags for wiping any oil. Each plane has a spray bottle of a product called "Wash Wax All" to be used for cleaning the leading edges. It's a fast easy way to keep the planes looking great and it's much easier to clean off the bugs if we do it after each flight. Here is a great "how to" video from Gary Cooper and Marty Walker:
Other tips from some members who have seen it all too many times:
- Replace pitot covers, install gust locks, lock the doors and tie down the planes properly. This is Texas y'all! There is no telling what critters may sneak in or what the weather will do to those planes
- After spraying and washing the leading edges you may have a) some dirty rags; and b) no Wash Wax All in your bottle. PLEASE take the dirty rags to the keyroom to be washed and refill the bottle.
- Nobody really wants your leftover peanut butter crackers or a snickers wrapper. Take them with you and put them in the trash
- Double check that you haven't left your Raybans or cellphone or whatever in the plane.
- Put the AROW documents back in the pockets where you found them
- Take a minute after your flight, before you walk away, and think how cool that was to soar through the air and then think "did I leave this plane better than i found it?"
We have a great club here let's make it better by taking care of those planes and doing our part!