When I think back to flight training during the winter months, I am reminded of attempting to sump 100LL from the wing of a Cessna 172 with 25 knot wind gusts and a -8 wind chill. I would carefully remove my gloves just long enough to get my fuel sample and sure enough the wind would pick up, spraying fuel all over my hands. Thanks to the cold temperatures, I couldn’t feel a thing.
Surprisingly year-after-year, I anxiously await the first snowfall of the season. But for pilots, colder temperatures bring with it lower freezing levels, the potential for ice in-flight, and in some cases, the inability to feel your hands during a standard pre-flight. The availability of de-ice or anti-ice systems can even impact your go/no-go decision.
Luckily, Garmin offers a variety of inexpensive options to assist you with your go/no-go decision during the winter months!
When connected to an XM antenna with an active XM weather subscription, the aera 510/560, the GPSMAP 696, aera 796, and G3X will display freezing levels at altitudes where icing is likely to occur. A graphical view of active Airmet’s or Sigmet’s are also available via an XM subscription, further adding to your situational awareness. Selecting a specific Airmet will identify it as Airmet Tango, Sierra, and/or Zulu and the altitudes affected.
Garmin Pilot on both Android and iOS devices can also display Airmet’s and Sigmet’s specific to icing. A graphical and textual representation can be displayed that is specific to your route of flight and is available by utilizing the ‘Widgets’ function within the application. Enabling this feature allows pilots to display ‘Winds Aloft’ and the textual description of ‘Airmets/Sigmets’ while viewing the moving map page at the same time.
While Garmin can’t supply hand warmers for those cold winter pre-flights, we know that our weather receivers and even Garmin Pilot can be a helpful solution to assist you with your flight planning, filing, and flying!