April 1999 Issue

Spring Into Action

A winter’s layoff can be murder on your airplane and your skills

Like it or not, some pilots hibernate during the winter. Their return to the air in spring brings numerous special hazards – to themselves and to others. Woe to the pilot who wakes the airplane from its long winter’s nap on the first warming day of spring with nary a thought to what may have happened to both his skills and the plane’s airworthiness during the cold winter months.

Piloting skills, of course, erode after a few months’ layoff. To a degree, deterioration of flying skills is related to experience. If you’ve accumulated tens of thousands of hours and have flown the same aircraft for years, then the adverse impact of a short vacation from flying will be relatively slight. On the...

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