Winter is coming, "are you ready?"
This is an excerpt from the Dec. 2017 Minnesota Flyer Tech Bulletin article “Prepared for winters flight.”
November 1, 2019
The first question you should ask yourself is, if I am this cold now and I haven’t even left the ramp, how cold would I be if I had to execute an emergency landing when miles from a town or even just a mile from a farm house, for instance. Am I properly dressed to be safe during this flight? The answer is no, you aren’t. You should always dress for the conditions you are likely to encounter anywhere along your route of flight. Then, in the event of an unscheduled landing, you’ll be able to protect yourself and your passengers until help arrives. Bear in mind that as their “pilot in command,” your passengers are going to look to you for support, direction, and strength. Are you ready? The next most important consideration is your “well stocked survival kit.” When flying in winter especially, (and driving too), everyone should carry a seasonally appropriate survival kit. Even if you fly or drive in or around urban areas, an unscheduled landing or an auto accident that disables your vehicle could mean spending some significant time in the elements.
If, in an aircraft anomalous situation in which you land safely, (assuming no injuries, or fire eruption, or possibility of fire), you need simple tools from your survival kit to help make your situation livable until help arrives. Remember to use the resources at hand. For instance, you can drain fuel from the aircraft to help make a fire so you can stay warm. You can use oil from the engine to make a black smoke as a signal to the rescuers. You can use fabric from the seats to add additional covering to your face, hands and feet to help stay warmer.
The most important initial factors for winter survival are to stay dry, stay warm and stay calm. Your survival kit should contain items to help you do those critically important things.
Ideally, a complete kit should contain the obvious: food, water, portable shelter and a quality first aid kit. But your gear should also contain a life support kit to include things like a hacksaw with metal and wood blades, pliers, multiple screwdriver set, waterproof matches, a whistle, red day/night flares, a solar rechargeable flashlight as well as a lithium-ion flashlight and more.
You can search Google for a checklist of items recommended for survival kits, or get a list of companies like preparedpilot.com, for instance.
A number of aviation oriented companies can recommend complete kits and survival communications devices.
Be sure to do your research. Plan ahead. Be safe and enjoy winters flight.