Sunday, 12 January 2014

Let the battle commence

Winter flying means one thing in the cockpit: The battle of the heat controls.

The planes I fly have fairly primitive heat controls, they wouldn’t be out of place in a 1970s pick up. Basically you pull out one knob for air and another for heat. The air is heated by passing it over the exhaust manifold for the engine. Crude but effective. Too effect.

Bob and I exist in very different temperature zones; there are probably many reasons for this. For a start I carry a great deal more “personal insulation” than Bob does and so am much more comfortable in cooler temperatures.

Basically though each winter flight goes like this: we do the run up, warm up the engine and take off. After a couple of minutes I realise that I’m getting hot and stressy over the simplest of tasks. If I have spare capacity I might realise straight away what’s going on, if it is a high workload situation it may take me a while to figure out that this isn’t just stress sweat.

Eventually I’ll say “Hey Bob, wanna dial down the heat a little bit?” He does something and the sauna like environment tempers off a little bit.

A period of time later, I’ll notice my feet starting to cook, Bob has obviously diverted the air flow downwards somewhat. Depending on how the flights going I may or may not say something. The way I look at it is like this. If I’m managing the flight Ok then the slightly warm temperature doesn’t bother me too much and if it’s a hard flight well then that’s usually Bob’s fault because he’s pulling evil stuff on me. In which case he deserves everything he gets when he diverts a stream of hot air onto my sweaty, smelly sneakers!

I can cope with being cool better than I can with being over warm and Bob is the polar opposite. The problem arises from the fact that the heating controls are on his side and he has nothing to do on most flights except play with them.

Either way it’s a constant battle and probably not one I’m likely to win anytime soon either.

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