The following points should be borne in mind when flying in winter:

• Stay out of icing conditions for which the aircraft has NOT been cleared

• Note freezing level in the aviation weather forecast. Don’t go unless the aircraft is equipped for the conditions

• Have warm clothing available for pre-flight and in case of heater failure or forced landing

• Mud, snow and slush will lengthen take-off and landing runs. Work out your distances

• Remove all frost, ice and snow from the aircraft – there is no such thing as “a little ice”!

• Check carefully that all essential electrical services, especially pitot heat, are working properly

• Check that the heater and demister are effective. Watch out for any signs of carbon monoxide poisoning

• Be extra vigilant for carb ice

• If ice does start to form, act promptly, get out of the conditions by descending, climbing or diverting

• If you encounter ice, tell ATC so that others can be warned

• During the approach if you suspect tail-plane ice, or suffer a severe pitch down, RETRACT THE FLAPS

• If you have to land with an iced up aeroplane, add at least 20% to the approach speed

• Snow-covered, icy or muddy runways will make the landing run much longer and crosswinds harder to handle 

Tony Birth