Aviation Safety Letter 1/2003

Winter Flying: A Rewarding Experience

Winter Flying

Winter flying is always a joy, no matter what kind of light aircraft you fly; whether it's a light aircraft, an ultralight, a balloon, a trike or a powered paraglider (PPG). The engine and the airplane always seem to perform much better in the winter than in the summer. As a pilot, you have to exercise caution and good judgment in analyzing the weather and planning your trip. Visibility is usually good, allowing you to enjoy vast expanses of nature. Lakes are easily accessible on skis, and sometimes on wheels, and the fishing is usually rewarding and great fun. The same applies to recreational flying in groups to various lodges that cater to such adventurers. However, great care must be given to the preparation of a flight. The weather forecast must be studied carefully; do not hesitate to get additional information from experienced pilots who are well acquainted with the area. Winter weather can be treacherous and is often unpredictable, so you must be prepared. What do you need to do to be safe? The first questions to ask yourself are: How is my health? Is my airplane in good shape? How do I plan and organize for an emergency? Remember, planning is everything!

Transport Canada System Safety has published a guide called: "Take Five.for safety: Winter Tips". It can be used as a basic checklist when planning a flight and I strongly recommend it. For your own copy, go to the Transport Canada Web site at: www.tc.gc.ca/quebec/en/aviationSafety/instant/
hiver.htm. The FAA has also published a useful guide for winter flying, which is available at http://www.faa.gov/news/safety_briefing/2009/media/NovDec2009.pdf

Using a checklist when preparing for an outing is of the outmost importance as it will enable you to prepare the flight, aircraft, communication and equipment required to ensure a safe and pleasant trip. Be sure that you are up to the task, and enjoy winter flying!

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