Information Echo

Welcome to Information Echo...formerly "Pilots Licence 101".

This blog chronicles my experiences beginning in the summer of 2004 as a student pilot, aiming to achieve my lifelong goal of obtaining my pilots licence.

Now, having completed my training and achieved my dream, I will continue to share my experiences henceforth.

Join me, won't you?

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Warming Up.

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I will continue to echo posts here for a few weeks to allow my readership time to make the move along with me.... Thanks!

As I was sitting on the apron last Saturday with my passenger, I had to explain to him why we were sitting there doing absolutely nothing for 4 or 5 minutes.

I had already gone through as much of the checklist as I could, I had gotten the ATIS, and we were all situated and ready to depart.

Why were we sitting? I was waiting for the engine to warmup before doing the runup.

Even though the plane was in the hangar overnight, it had been outside for a while before we had gotten there, and it was also rather nippy out, at -10c.

So, in order to go “By the books”, I took the time to properly warm the engine before pushing it beyond idle.

My passenger asked me why this is necessary.

We proceeded to talk about the necessities of warmup in order to minimize engine wear, and avoid nasty things like cracked cylinder heads. I also explained to him the extra precautions that may need to be observed in the winter months when it comes to power-off decents, or other maneuvers which may shock cool the engine.

Regardless, the topic came back to the warmup..and I’ve been thinking about it since.

Yes, I do take the time to do a proper warmup on days where I’m the first pilot to fly the aircraft, or where the aircraft has been sitting for a period of time since the last flight.

Do I enjoy killing the time to accomplish this? No. Do I enjoy paying $1.83 per minute for the process? Hardly.

But, I do it regardless - even though Sundays warmup cost me almost $8 before I even called for a taxi clearnance, I did it right, and paid for it.

Is $8 really that much in the overall perspective of things? Some may say no, but I look at the cumulative effect rather then the per-flight effect. I’ve probably paid over $100 in hobbs time now simply sitting on the apron waiting for that little black needle to bump into the green arc.

It’s frustrating, but I do it.

However, I do see others that don’t follow the rules. I’ve seen pilots jump into a stone cold aircraft, fire it up, and do a full runup shortly thereafter.

Why do they do this? Well, I strongly suspect it’s because they’re not overly excited about paying for the warmup time.

When I was a student at CFA, when the temperature hit a certain point, many lessons would have .1 deducted from the hobbs time in respect of the fact that exceptionally long warmup times were sometimes required. This was fair - I had no problem doing a proper warmup when I was getting an appropriate credit for the time.

However, over the last winter when I was still flying as a solo student, and also since I’ve completed my training and have been renting, I’ve approached dispatch on a few occasions and inquired about receiving a warmup hobbs credit after a fkight.

Of course, I’m legitimate about it, only asking on days where I’ve had to do long warmups as the temperature clearly dictated one.

My requests have been fairly consistently denied. I think I was granted a .1 credit once when the temperature was nearly -18c one day.

The alternatives? Well, others have apparently tried lying about their hobbs times. I don’t agree with this, and apparently those in question were eventually caught.

Option 2 is to simply skip the warmp, and do the runup no matter what the temperature guage says. Again, I don’t agree with this practice - I don’t really want to damage the engine that I’m about to trust to keep me in the sky for the next hour or two.

Option three is to grin and bear it, which is what I’ve been doing.
And I’ll continue to do it simply because it’s the “right thing to do”…but I must wonder if it wouldn’t be cheaper for the FBO’s to be somewhat more liberal with Hobbs credits in order to avoid those who simply don’t follow the rules.

Cracked cylinder heads surely cost money in both labor, parts, and downtime. Wear and tear from an engine runup completed before the oil becomes sufficiently viscous is surely going to shorten the lifespan of the engine as a whole.

There’s so many reason why a proper warmup is essential, yet so many reasons why I’m sure alot of people don’t bother…


At 3/10/2006 02:14:00 PM , Anonymous Richard said...

Hey Mark, Good comments about the potential engine damage or premature wear. I have seen some pilots start rolling a cold engine at low RPM's and make there way to the active hold short line and then complete the high RPM check items there (assuming the engine is warm) before requesting a takeoff clearance. I guess if you can keep the RPM's down during this procedure, it may end up dealing with your concern about the hobbs time and help safeguard the engine as well. Now whether the Tower will like it on busy days is another question. This option may work better at quieter airports


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