Pilots prepare for flight in frigid temps - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Pilots prepare for flight in frigid temps

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WATERLOO (KWWL) - Whether you travel by air, land or sea, a frigid forecast is sometimes enough to throw a wrench into those travel plans.

When the weather is extreme, pilots have routine checks in place before flying.

Pilot Scott Lowe has been flying airplanes for 42 years. With over 60,000 hours of flight experience, he said he's flown through just about every weather condition.

In negative temperatures, pilots first check the wings of an aircraft to check for icing.

"Frost looks innocent, but it actually acts as sandpaper on the surface of the aircraft and as the air flows over it, that frost will disrupt it and decrease the lift," Lowe said.

Next is the engine. Lowe will check the oil, as the viscosity gets low in the wintertime.

"Before we start this engine, we'll usually ask for a pre-heater," he said.

Along with the wings and engine, pilots inspect the propellers to make sure the ant-icing function works properly.

After scanning the runway for any contamination and getting weather updates via radio, pilots are prepared for takeoff.

Lowe said the cold air doesn't pose as much of a problem for pilots as most people think. In fact, he said, "Airplanes like cold weather."
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