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Winter operations / lowest temperature for starting / preheating methods (merged)

If it is your own aeroplane and you want to improve engine life wouldn’t a Tanis or similar heater be the way to go?

This is an interesting read.

http://www.avweb.com/news/maint/182846-1.html

Darley Moor, Gamston (UK)

The problem is that Tanis and similar heaters do require outside electric power (110 / 220 v) so unless one carries a gasoline generator in the back seat it’s back to square one….

Isn’t a little 900W generator easier to carry than a combustion heater and all those big hoses and bungs? My little 2 stroke generator is lighter than you’d think, and wasn’t expensive.

It’s not exactly like this but similar:
http://www.screwfix.com/p/sdmo-booster-1000-900w-generator-230v/39157

Darley Moor, Gamston (UK)

Combustion heaters are out of question anyway on European ramps – no way you can get away with that.

I was looking at that generator this morning actually. Then I realised that the Tanis system needs 6 (six) hours to reach what they call “thermal equilibrium”…. so the generator doesn’t solve the problem either.

To think a fuel-driven heater is only 1.5kgs… of course without liquid cooling no way you can adapt it.

It would be interesting to hear views – with type of engine, aircraft and type of oil.

Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

When I have been in the Arctic at -40° I have found that quite serious amounts of external heat is required for the engines even to turn over. That is with very thin oil, 40W15 from memory.

I also wonder if the disintegration of one of my engines a few flying hours after I got back from my longest and coldest Arctic trip was due to problems stemming from very cold operation, but I have no evidence.

My advice would be minima of around -10°C with W80 and around -20°C with 40W15.

EGKB Biggin Hill

If it is really cold, below -10-20, it doesn’t really matter what kind of oil you have. The main problem is different thermal expansion factors of aluminium and steel. Aluminium shrinks more than steel when cooled, and the bearings becomes too tight for it’s own good. An engine should always be pre-heated when starting below zero degrees at least.

ENVA ENOP ENMO, Norway

In my aeroclubs in Norway, we were asked not to start the engines if the temperature was below -10 C even though the engine were pre-heated with a heating element in the oil sump.

No idea what oil was used.

I wonder what they do in Alaska. I have heard stories from people doing mountain flying with ski equipped planes, that they took the oil out from the engine to heat it before pouring it back into the engine.

LFPT, LFPN

In my aeroclubs in Norway, we were asked not to start the engines if the temperature was below -10 C even though the engine were pre-heated with a heating element in the oil sump.

We have no temperature limits in my club, although you can certainly expect the temperature to go below -20°C at least once every winter. We do have heating elements and all aircraft are (cold) hangared.

ESKC (Uppsala/Sundbro), Sweden

I turn on the Ardic heater and then watch the magic happen while sipping a hot coffee at the FBO. Oh wait – wishful thinking… The club has heating fans to be used below 10C, with 15w50 oil. I am still looking for a neat unencumbering remote controlled heating solution – was looking at sticking 1000W heat lamps either under the cowling or up the exhaust pipes.

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