RE: Cold Weather Flying?
We fly every New Year's Day in what we call the Frozen Needle Valve. At 7:30 am yesterday, it was a balmy 13*F. Balmy, because that's about 10 degrees warmer than last year.
First, dress for the weather. Most of our club members appear in insulated coveralls over layers, insulated pac boots, and stocking caps or bomber hats. Sunglasses are a must - especially if there is snow on the ground. Gloves vary. Some of us have learned to fly wearing thin gloves, the rest of us haven't. Some use transmitter gloves that enclose the transmitter and the hands. Cold fingers are the limit to most flying in these temps. Last year, at 3 degrees and a 10 mph wind from the north, most of our flights were around 5 minutes before tingling fingers forced landings. Difficult to fly if you can't feel the sticks . . .
Probably the greatest difference in cold weather flying is that glow engines don't start well in those temperatures. Open the needle valve a few clicks, choke the stew out of the engine, and open the throttle a bit more than usual. Prepare for a bit more time on the electric starter than in normal weather. Be gentle with the throttle once it fires up, and leave the glow ingitor on until things warm up. Many of us taxi out with the glow ingitor attached, and remove it just before we taxi onto the runway for take-off. Bump up the idle trim a bit once airborne. A touch-and-go or low and slow pass can become a landing due to flame-out when you advance the throttle in a hurry.
Flight isn't much different. Do be prepared for some trim adjustments, particularly on rudder and elevator if using nylon pushrods because of thermal contraction. Cold air is more dense, and therefore, will produce a bit more power.
Gas engines need a bit longer warm-up, but start much more easily than glow engines. Electric flyers are landing while we glow flyers are still cranking.
Batteries of all types suffer in cold weather. Electric flyers notice shorter flight times. Be sure to charge fully (starter battery, glow ignitor, airborne pack, and transmitter) before heading out, and watch your transmitter indicator. When that shows you are getting low, your airborne pack is probably getting low as well.