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Old 12-25-2012, 04:59 PM
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LettersFromFlyoverCountry LettersFromFlyoverCountry is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: St. Paul, MN.
Posts: 4,826
Default Cold weather and flying

We had a discussion at the hangar about this and while we both had heard various no-go temperatures, neither of us knew exactly why. So I'll put it out there this way: What's the temperature, below which you will not fly?
Bob Collins
St. Paul, MN.
Blog: Letters From Flyover Country
RV-12iS Powerplant kit
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Old 12-25-2012, 05:41 PM
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scard scard is offline
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Cedar Park, TX
Posts: 3,368

Ours are almost entirely pilot limitations. We've gotten to the airplane and looked at each other on a beautiful clear day and said "what were we thinking", and gone back home. I know it is funny, but this is supposed to be fun.
Scott Card
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RV-9A N4822C flying 2200+hrs. / Cedar Park, TX
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Old 12-25-2012, 05:46 PM
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sprucemoose sprucemoose is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: MKE
Posts: 1,532

-459.67 F.

0.0 K if that is easier to remember.
Jeff Point
RV-6, RLU-1 built & flying
ATP, CFI, Tech Counselor, Flight Advisor & President- EAA Chapter 18
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Old 12-25-2012, 05:54 PM
tclaire tclaire is offline
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Rayville Mo Midland Tx
Posts: 74

0F to 5F once in the air with a good heater you don't know the difference, I have vetterman mufflers with heat muff, it amazing how much heat you get.
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Old 12-25-2012, 05:58 PM
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rzbill rzbill is offline
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Asheville, NC
Posts: 2,751

Ice sucks
Bill Pendergrass
ME/AE '82
RV-7A: Flying since April 15, 2012. 850 hrs
YIO-360-M1B, mags, CS, GRT EX and WS H1s & A/P, Navworx
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Old 12-25-2012, 06:08 PM
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Sparky Sparky is offline
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Perham, MN
Posts: 350


I agree with Scott that it is a personal limitation more than anything.

There is almost nothing better than flying in cold Minnesota on a clear day. Aircraft performance is amazing in the dense cold air and there is almost no turbulance. I really enjoy it.

However, when the temperature reaches about -10 to -15 degrees F, for me, the pain outweighs the gain.

So my personal limit for enjoyable flying is -15 degrees F.
Paul Winkels
RV7 Standard Build - First flight 4/16/2016 - Now Flying!
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Old 12-25-2012, 09:03 PM
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Ironflight Ironflight is offline
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Location: Dayton, NV
Posts: 12,830

Try a J-3 on skis in subzero temps (out of Anoka County) ... but I was a lot younger then!

I really don't have any firm temp limits in terms of flying - so long as the airplane comes out of a warmed hangar if the temps are below freezing. Preflighting and getting ready to go in the cockpit when everything is frozen is just plain work!

Paul F. Dye
Editor at Large - KITPLANES Magazine
RV-8 - N188PD - "Valkyrie"
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Old 12-25-2012, 09:13 PM
Rupester Rupester is offline
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Location: Mahomet, Illinois
Posts: 2,195

For me, it's about +10F. I'm a wimp.
Terry Ruprecht
RV-9A Tip-up; IO-320 D2A
S. James cowl/plenum
(Dues paid thru Nov '18)
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Old 12-25-2012, 11:16 PM
Ralph Inkster Ralph Inkster is offline
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Calgary, Alberta
Posts: 1,580

As I get older my cold weather limit is rising. Currently -10F is plenty cool enough- and that's coming from a Canadian.
Realistically, with a properly prepped aircraft -25F is doable, if not comfortable. But if you are up for winter flying (fantastic by the way) be sure to personally prep with winter survival gear aboard too.
built a few RVs, rebuilt a few more, hot rodded more, & maintained/updated a big bunch more
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Old 12-25-2012, 11:23 PM
mtnflyer mtnflyer is offline
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: granby co
Posts: 180
Default Cold cold cold

Here in the mountains of Colorado it is common to fly at temps in the minus 5 to minus 10 if the sun is shining but then I installed two heat muffs, one on each bank. With the sun shining in the cockpit it stays quite nice, but heaven help you if you fly under a cloud. One interesting thing happens quite often is to have way below zero on the ground and temps as much as 30 drgrees warmer a couple of thousand feet in the air.....
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