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Cold Weather Flying

Old 10-08-2014, 07:54 PM
  #1  
AEAJR
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Cool Cold Weather Flying

For you pilots of the Southern States this will be a comical thread. Oh those poor guys up North. But for those of us who see the temperatures dropping it is a sign that winter is coming. The weather gets cold and many pilots put their planes away for a long winter's nap.

For some this is called building season. They stop flying and start building kits and such. For them this is when they do their repairs and build the new models for next season.

While I do tend to fly less, mostly because snow blocks my access to some of my flying sites, when possible I fly all year round on Long Island in NY. Sometimes it is below freezing and I have flown at zero degrees F. Last season we had double the usual snow and much colder temperatures so the snow hung around and I had trouble getting to suitable flying sites. But I still got in some flying.


How about you? Do you stop flying in the winter?


Whether I am flying at the field or at the slope, I fly all year round. Here are a few of my favorite cold weather flying accessories. Many of these go in my bag in October and stay there till May.

Regular Golf Gloves, Left and Right - These keep the wind off the skin and provide a little warmth but give you an excellent feel for the sticks and grip on the plane for hand launching. I sometimes fly Discus Launched Gliders and use these as throwing gloves even when it is not cold.
http://www.amazon.com/TaylorMade-Tar...ds=golf+gloves


Winter Golf Gloves - provide the same great feel of the sticks and grip on the plane for winter flying. Again, these are especially good for DLG pilots. If my hands are still cold I put a hot hands pack in the palm of each glove and my hands stay warm for hours.
http://www.dickssportinggoods.com/product/index.jsp?productId=4354397

Hot Hands - Buy at Home Depot, Lowes, sporting goods stores, even some supermarkets. Put them in your gloves, your pockets, your shoes and stay warm for hours even at the coldest temperatures. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00NYBQK5Q/ref=pd_lpo_sbs_dp_ss_2?pf_rd_p=1944687622&pf_rd_s= lpo-top-stripe-1&pf_rd_t=201&pf_rd_i=B0007ZF4OA&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX 0DER&pf_rd_r=0S8PCD1ZW2HF5DJ6ZSE0

Batteries in the cold - These hot hands also work well to keep your batteries warm. Cold batteries have reduced capacity. You can bring a cooler or a lipo pack, toss in a hot hand pack along with your batteries and they will be in much better shape for flying.

For those of us who fly planes that have receiver packs, gliders and glow for example, I have heard of people putting a hot hands right on the receiver pack. Not a bad idea when the temperature drops below freezing.


Neck collar - Turtle Fur - One of my favorite items.
http://www.amazon.com/Turtle-Fur-Turtles-Neck-Neckwarmer/dp/B0000DZIS8/ref=sr_1_1?s=apparel&ie=UTF8&qid=1412786677&sr=1-1&keywords=Turtle+fur

Fleece Hood
http://workingperson.com/occunomix-hoods-sherpa-fleece-shoulder-length-hood-ss550.html

Ski Mask - Covers all exposed skin
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000ZQAFIQ/ref=pd_lpo_sbs_dp_ss_1?pf_rd_p=1944687662&pf_rd_s= lpo-top-stripe-1&pf_rd_t=201&pf_rd_i=B00063W2CU&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX 0DER&pf_rd_r=11QBCHS01J6666V6BCYP

Transmitter Glove - I have a different one that is not made anymore. I rarely use it but if it is REALLY cold it works great! Mine has a place to put Hot Hands Packs
http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/__11738__Turnigy_Transmitter_Glove_2_4Ghz_Neckstra p_Ready_.html

Ski Goggles - I have rarely used them but I have them. They keep the wind off your eyes. At some beach locations, if the wind gets over 20 mph it can kick up sand and these come in handy.
http://www.dickssportinggoods.com/family/index.jsp?categoryId=4417684

Last edited by AEAJR; 10-09-2014 at 01:32 PM.
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Old 10-08-2014, 08:01 PM
  #2  
fhhuber
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Clear plastic garbage bag... Keeps wind (and rain...) off your hands and TX. Cheap and easy.
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Old 10-09-2014, 02:26 AM
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Aeajr I tend to fly all winter myself last year was a tough one like you mentioned. Our club is a mile dirt rd. and when it snows you don't get down there till it is clear like in the spring!
I just bundle up and head out to one of the many ponds, or lakes around here. I keep the hand warmers in my coat pocket stick my hands in the pockets to warm up the fingers. I use a small personal cooler, and toss a hand warmer in with the batteries to keep them some what warm.

I like to use gloves from HD called Gorilla gloves. They fit nice all black to absorb some of the sun. Nice part is instead of wearing them with the rubber on the palm side I keep the rubber side to the back of the hand. This stops the wind chill effect on the skin. Like your golf club gloves they are thin and no problem with the sticks.
http://www.homedepot.com/p/Grease-Mo...-030/202709681

Hope the forecast for a winter worse than last year is wrong.
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Old 10-09-2014, 03:29 AM
  #4  
AEAJR
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We have the same problem with the road to the field. It is about 200 yards long, 1 car wide and covered by trees so the sun never gets to it. I would never try it with a regular 2 wheel drive car when it is covered with snow and ice.

Those Gorilla grip gloves look interesting. I may have to check them out.
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Old 10-09-2014, 04:17 AM
  #5  
mclarkson
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I, too, fly all year. In the winter, I add a Turnigy transmitter glove ($12.99):



In Kansas, it's not just cold, it's windy and it doesn't take much time at all to really mess up my hands. (Wearing gloves on my hands just never feels right, to me.) This does mean that I have to change my line-up of planes or take someone with me to chuck them into the air. My few attempts to hand launch a plane and then get me hand jammed back into the glove before things went pear-shaped did not generally work out well.
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Old 10-09-2014, 06:51 AM
  #6  
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Originally Posted by mclarkson View Post
I, too, fly all year. In the winter, I add a Turnigy transmitter glove ($12.99):



In Kansas, it's not just cold, it's windy and it doesn't take much time at all to really mess up my hands. (Wearing gloves on my hands just never feels right, to me.) This does mean that I have to change my line-up of planes or take someone with me to chuck them into the air. My few attempts to hand launch a plane and then get me hand jammed back into the glove before things went pear-shaped did not generally work out well.
+1 Mark.
I think Kansas and Wyoming are related when it comes to weather. I don't own a TX glove. I don't fly with gloves either. So when wind chill is below 0 I stay in. When I am flying and I get numb hands I take a break inside the truck. I also will keep my batteries inside the truck as well (though I am not sure the safety with that) I cant always fly at our club either because we just don't have the equipment to keep it maintained through out the winter so I often flying parkfliers at our local soccer park.
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Old 10-09-2014, 01:32 PM
  #7  
AEAJR
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You guys have to try golf gloves or winter golf gloves.

Regular golf gloves keep the wind off the skin and provide a "little" warmth. But put a hot hands in the palm and you will be fine.

The Winter Golf Gloves are even better. Same wonderful feel on the sticks and great grip on the plane but the back is insulated. I can go a lot colder with these with no hot hands pack, but if it gets that cold I pop a hot hands into the palm.

Give them a try.
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Old 10-09-2014, 04:48 PM
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solentlife
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I don't like gloves, but have light thin gloves enough to give me over 10mins protection from cold. Longer than that is not necessary as I have landed and I can put hands in pocket !

My lipo's - I have a small picnic insulated bag .. designed to carry a 6 pack. I make sure its warmed in house before use ... lipo's at house temp .... put in and keep closed ... car is warm on way to site ... I run car heater at times for myself - so bag gets warmed as well as it sits near warm air outlet.

Unless I do some real serious flying - all is fine even with our -10C.

For head - I have a what my wife calls "bank-robbers" balaclava with eye and mouth only holes ! ..... in black of course !

Nigel
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Old 10-09-2014, 05:33 PM
  #9  
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I guess I am more focused on gloves because I am also a glider pilot. Flights can be over an hour so my hands are on the sticks for a long time.
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Old 10-09-2014, 06:18 PM
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solentlife
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I too fly Gliders - but tend to keep them for nice summer thermal days. Slope soaring sites are few and far between in Latvia - so its not a serious item here.
Now in UK - I used to Slope soar all day .... often pushing the Rx pack to limits of endurance.

Nigel
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Old 10-09-2014, 08:08 PM
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thepiper92
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Good tips...I'll need them soon (sigh).
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Old 10-09-2014, 11:25 PM
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Wrongway-Feldman
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I used to live in Calgary and we had this great thing called Chinooks. Basically a western wind that would push the temperatures well above freezing every week or so.
Now however I live on the Saskatchewan prairies and the average winter temperatures are normally in the 20 to 30 degrees below zero and wind chills normally in the minus 40's or colder.
I'm afraid flying is no fun in conditions like that. I tend to stick to simulator time and building when it gets like that.
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Old 10-10-2014, 02:51 AM
  #13  
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One year I had a job tying reinforcing steel for a concrete slab, between Christmas and New Years. We are not as bad as many places, but handling cold wet steel all day will turn your fingers into sticks of wood.

I found some gloves made from wetsuit material. They were thin enough that I could do what I had to, working with wire less that 1/16" , but my hands were warm even though they were wet, I just didn't seem to lose body heat.

They cost me $20, but that was money well spent.
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Old 10-10-2014, 07:56 AM
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thepiper92
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Originally Posted by Wrongway-Feldman View Post
I used to live in Calgary and we had this great thing called Chinooks. Basically a western wind that would push the temperatures well above freezing every week or so.
Now however I live on the Saskatchewan prairies and the average winter temperatures are normally in the 20 to 30 degrees below zero and wind chills normally in the minus 40's or colder.
I'm afraid flying is no fun in conditions like that. I tend to stick to simulator time and building when it gets like that.
I hear you, living just next to you where the weather is mainly the same. Hopefully this winter is better than last, for temp and amount of snow. Remember last year I took out the mini switch, was around -25C, but completely zero wind, so it felt like a typical -15 day. I was only flying for a couple minutes when I went in to warm myself up, and my right index finger was just burning and aching for a good 30 minutes. The way I held the radio caused my finger to be closr to frostbite. May have to stick with helis only this winter. First off they don't need a landing strip, and second, they only get 4 minutes max on a warm day...must be a minute flight here in winter. I guess some better thin gloves would help, and maybe a case to warm the batteries. I've been thinking about they Ikon or Icon plane from the LHS, which is a sea plane of sorts, so should do well in snow and be the winter plane.
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Old 10-10-2014, 11:54 AM
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gramps2361
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Originally Posted by Wrongway-Feldman View Post
I used to live in Calgary and we had this great thing called Chinooks. Basically a western wind that would push the temperatures well above freezing every week or so.
Now however I live on the Saskatchewan prairies and the average winter temperatures are normally in the 20 to 30 degrees below zero and wind chills normally in the minus 40's or colder.
I'm afraid flying is no fun in conditions like that. I tend to stick to simulator time and building when it gets like that.

Must have been like the ice fishing gloves I use. Made from Neoprene never thought about trying them for flying. Glad you brought those gloves up in your post.
.dickssportinggoods.com/product/index.jsp?productId=41708476&clickid=prod_cs&recid =Product_PageElement_product_rr_2_966
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Old 10-10-2014, 12:44 PM
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Contrary to popular belief, in Florida as far south as Daytona Beach/DeLand/Orlando it gets cold. We probably have 7 days every winter where the temp gets into the 30s and usually a couple days where we'll see high 20s. I'd say we get snow between one and six times per year, at 3:00 am when very few are awake to see, but it happens.

And the coldest temps happen just before sunrise, with the temps rising at least to the mid 40s on even the coldest days (except the time in 1976 when the snow remained on the ground in the shade until 1:00 in the afternoon all the way down to the Florida Keys). So thank you Canada, cold reaches us after being whipped into shape by Georgia.

The thing about Florida is that uncomfortable cold never stays. A week later we'll be in the 60s. So there's almost no rational reason to fly in the nasty stuff. Of course RC pilots are NOT rational so we sometimes do anyway.

You can couple with that the wimp effect of living in this climate. If you move from New York, for instance, your first Christmas you'll be on the beach in your shorts and maybe a t-shirt, laughing at all us natives saying "Those people think it's COLD. I could show them cold...."

But Yankee cold resistance is fleeting. The following Christmas, at the same temperature, you'll be on the beach, bundled up like it's zero outside, laughing at the tourists who think it's summer. I figure cold resistance heads back north to someone who can use it in about six months.

For October we usually have high temps of about 86º and today will have a high of 89º, a hotter day than our ideal fantasy summer day in Michigan used to be: 80º if the shade. We used to get that for two months of the year.......mostly anyway.

Last edited by Rockin Robbins; 10-10-2014 at 01:59 PM.
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Old 10-17-2014, 05:16 AM
  #17  
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For the past 3 years I and a few other fellas from our club have tried to fly all year. We're in the western part of Virginia (Shenandoah Valley) and we're generally protected from weather extremes by the mountains. That being said we still have the days when the temps are single digits and last winter we had some days when it was below 0 a few days but those days are few. I hope to continue to fly thru this coming winter but I'm a bit unsure how well I'll be able to handle it this year. About 1 month ago I went thru some heart surgery, a double bypass. It went well, I'm feeling fine and recovering well. My hesitation is that I've heart some people say that after such an operation such as this they say that cold temps bother them more. I guess I'll see. Traditionally I've done very well with cold temps, worked heavy construction much of my life and spent each day outdoors regardless of the temps. Hopefully that won't change very much. If it does..... well I'll just have to get some stuff built that's sitting on the shelf.

I sure do love this hobby!
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Old 10-17-2014, 01:37 PM
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Take one of those hand warmer heat packs and put it in your shirt pocket, right over your heart. It warms the body which warms the blood and the heart distributes that heat to the rest of the body. If you are concerned about general tolerance to the cold, give this a try. Won't keep your fingers and toes warm but it will improve your ability to fly in cooler weather.
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Old 10-17-2014, 05:31 PM
  #19  
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silk gloves - under whatever gloves is warm. So are silk undies, long sleeve/leg style. In a pinch pantyhose work fairly well.

Or you use my winter method - HIBERNATE!
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Old 10-19-2014, 12:35 AM
  #20  
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If bad goes to worse I'll wear my heated jacket liner (use with my motorcycle) and make a relatively short power extension cable to plug into my truck's accessory power socket, or I imagine I could come up with a couple reasonably sized 3s packs that would give me a couple hours run time. The liner pulls 90 watts (full on) which equates to 7.5 amps at 12v. The more I think about this the more I like it. I seldom need to run the jacket full on (the thermostat is a timing circuit that simply cycles the jacket on and off).
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