Monday, November 16, 2009

Winter Battery Maintenance

We depend on lots of batteries when we fly. First in importance is the airplane battery. It is critical in the winter months to keep all fluid at the proper levels, and that it's kept charged and as warm as possible. A quality trickle charger can mean the difference between a long, cold preflight concluding with a failed start, and a long, cold preflight followed by a wonderful winter flight.

Pilot accessories such as portable GPSs, ANR headsets, handheld VHF radios, and flashlights are particularly susceptible to the cold winter nights. I take all of my battery powered pilot toys into the house at night, rather than leave them in the plane or even in the car trunk. Batteries drain fast when they have to light up frozen components. As a side benefit, you are removing an incentive for someone to pry open your airplane door to steal your goodies. So take care of your batteries and keep 'em warm.