The weather is ever-improving this time of year and aside from the April showers, the springtime provides more opporutnities for flying. Annually this is a welcome change following the cold temperatures and short days of winter.
As we get closer to the primetime for flying, summer, it’s a good opportunity to take stock of our flying supplies. Spring cleaning around the house is a common occurrence, but we should extend this to our flying too. For aircraft owners, the spring time is a great time to pause and spend some time cleaning out the airplane.
Typically over the course of the winter, things happen fast following a flight, while packing up the aircraft after flights is rushed so you can get into a nice warm vehicle or building. As a result, charts, supplies, etc… may end up tucked into all corners of the airplane. Now that the weather is a little more palpable, spend some time cleaning out the airplane. Thinning out the supplies to what is really needed.
For you Piper pilots, don’t forget to remove the winterization plate on your air intake. Not that I’ve learned that lesson myself… But take it from me, it’s better to remember than to forget, go flying and then troubleshoot the high temperature readings enroute.
For pilots that don’t own airplanes, take a look at your flight bag. Similar to aircraft owners stuffing all kinds of things into all corner of their aircraft, we non-owners have a tendency to let the “stuff” in our flight bags grow and expand to max out the capacity. Take some time to clean out your flight bag.
Those old airport diagrams or back up approach plates you printed out for a trip months ago aren’t needed anymore. Similarly the wrapper from the peanut butter crackers you brought along on a cross country flight a couple of weeks ago can finish its migration to your trash can. Take stock of your needed flight supplies, everything else can go. Oh yeah, you don’t need 17 pens and pencils either, a half dozen is more than enough…
While you’re at it, Spring is a great time to refresh our electronics. Many of us use portable GPS unit, tablets and handheld radios that have rechargeable batteries. However, many top-of-the-line noise canceling headsets use AA-batteries, which need to be replaced every now and then. Replacing batteries in your noise cancelling headset proactively is much more convenient than replacing the batteries mid-flight when the old ones run out of juice. The Spring is also a good time to see if you need to do any regular maintenance to your headsets too. I’ve written about regular, recurring headset TLC previously HERE, check it out to see what easy things you can do to keep your headsets in the best shape possible.
I recommend carrying back up batteries and refreshing the backups in cycle to ensure your back up batteries are always good too. Replacing the batteries in your headset with your back up batteries and replacing your back up batteries with new is my recommended process. Many other items use replaceable batteries as well including flash lights, headlamps, yoke timers, some handheld radios, etc… Regularly (each Spring) replacing the batteries in these items is highly recommended. It’s always better to do this proactively than running out of power mid-flight, just like with your headsets.
Once you’re done with your Spring cleaning and battery replacements, enjoy the Spring and get up and go flying!
-Fly Safe, @MTElia1B9