Winter is upon us once again. With it, the necessity to modify the preflight and postflight procedures. Namely the need to preheat the engines and install wing/tail covers after the flights.
In order to ensure easier engine start and to increase the longevity of the engines by reducing wear and tear, it is necessary to preheat the engines any time the temperature is below 32 degrees Fahrenheit (0 degrees Celsius).
Airplanes located on the Sheltair ramp, the Warrior N54446 and the Seminole N3074P are equipped with oil sump eectrical heating pads. Call Sheltair an hour or two before the first flight of the day to plug those planes in. Be aware that the electrical cord is located near the fence so the planes might not be in their usual spots.
On the Echo ramp, the Warrior N2280Q and the Arrow N15745 are also equipped with electrical oils sump heating pads There is a plug under the cowling to connect an electrical cord. The generator that's stored in the Warrior's box (spot 160) is used to supply electricity. Refer to these videos for instructions.
Starting the preheat: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=byaoxTlUVe0&featur...
Stopping the generator: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mf7vAJ3qRs0&featur...
A more detailed video about the generator: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YWUxMuhSol0
Generator Starting Procedure. Move the lever to the Start position. Pull the cord until the engine starts but no more than 6 times. If the engine doesn't start, check the fuel and oil levels. Once the engine starts, move the lever to the Run position. Once the RPM stabilize, connect the electrical cord (also stored in the box) to the generator first, then to the electrical plug under the cowling. The plug is equipped with the light to indicate that there's enough electricity flowing.
Secure the cowling in the closed position if possible to prevent the wind to interfere with the heating process. Leave it running for about 30 minutes if the temperature is between 25 and 32 degrees Fahrenheit and for 60 minutes if the temperature is 25 degrees Fahrenheit or lower.
At the end of the heating process after making sure the ignition is off, slowly rotate the propeller by hands 5-10 times to let the warm oil from the sump to get into the bottom of the cylinders.
Stopping the generator. Move the lever to the Stop position. Disconnect the cord from the generator and the plug. Store the unit and the cord in the box.
Wing covers are available for the Warrior N2280Q and the Arrow N15745. Both planes are now well protected from the harsh winter environment. However, most importantly, the covers increase planes’ availability. As long as taxiways and runways are clear of snow and ice, which Republic airport is very good about, you take the covers off, shake the snow off, and fly.
No more messing around trying to get ice and snow off the wings. No scratching paint trying to get that patch of ice off.
Wing covers are constructed using polyester mesh. The fine mesh allows wind to blow through the cover so covers do not have to be removed in high winds. In addition, the covers feature spoiler panels that break the lift and help the cover and the airplane stay put in high winds.
Installing the covers after a flight is an important step to ensure that the next pilot (who could be you) finds the plane in the same ready-to-fly condition. It could be a little daunting to put the covers on especially in windy conditions and especially by yourself. That’s why we suggest that you fly with a buddy. Besides, it makes any flight easier and more rewarding. However, in extremely windy conditions leave the covers off and inform the management so we can take care of them when the winds die down.
Below are the basic instructions on how to install the covers. We have ensured that all instructors are proficient in this procedure. They will be happy to educate and assist you.
When installing airplane covers, install the cabin cover first, then the wing covers.
Installation of Cabin Cover
- "Windshield" and "Rear" locations are noted on the underside of the cover.
- Locate the Velcro side of the cover - this is the door side.
- Lay cover over the aircraft.
- Place antenna pockets in cover over antenna locations.
- Connect front belly strap under cowling, adjust strap forward if needed.
- Connect rear belly strap under rear fuselage.
- Center the bungee/strap combo connected to rear strap under fuselage and pull towards aircraft tail. Hook to the tail tie down ring or tail wheel.
Installation of Wing Covers
The wing cover with the red strip on the undertip goes on the left wing of the aircraft. One easy way to remember this is to associate the red strip with the red nav light.
- Slide the cover over the wing tip first and spread it over the rest of the wing.
- Straighten it along the trailing edge making sure static wicks are protruding through the cut outs.
- Straighten the leading edge.
- Starting from the wingtip attach bungee cords to the attachments at the trailing edge. Leave the last cord closest to the wing root unattached until the opposite wing cover is installed.
- Note: It’s not easy to reach the hook of the bungee from the trailing edge, especially when working closer to the root of the wing. We will provide a rope with a weight. While at the leading edge of the wing, attach the loop in the rope to the hook at the end of the bungee and throw it under the wing to the opposite side. Walk over to the trailing edge of the wing. Pull the cord by the rope. Once you reach the hook, detach the rope from the hook and attach the hook to the attachment loop in the trailing edge of the cover.
- Repeat for the opposite wing.
- Cross the two bungees closest to the wing root under the fuselage and hook to the attachment closest to the trailing edge of the opposite wing. Make sure the cords don’t touch the antennas on the belly of the airplane!
- There is one additional bungee located at the front leading edge wing near the root (see attached diagram). The shorter bungee goes under the fuselage and hooks to the opposite leading edge wing. The longer bungees cross under the fuselage and hook to the trailing edge of the opposite wing.
- Install one side of the stabilator cover by sliding it over the stabilator tip and spread it over the stabilator.
- Straighten the trailing edge inserting static wicks into the cutouts.
- Straighten the leading edge.
- Attach the bungee cords.
- Repeat for the opposite side of the stabilator.
- Attach two sides of the cover to each other by Velcro tape to prevent both sides from sliding off the stabilator. Make sure to make the attachment on top and on the bottom of the stabilator.
Always tighten straps and bungees so that they are "snug".