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Winter Operations on Private Jets

Winter ops are something that all crew members should be aware about. 

They are extremely important to prevent damages to the aircraft and additional maintenance. 

Last week I was in Moscow, and Russia in December can be pretty cold. 

Not yet sever cold like -25 or -27 of Siberia, but still, the possibility of freezing temperature was quite high. 

When to talk about it

Me and the crew covered this topic during the briefing in the morning and we decided how to proceed.

The pilots checked the weather forecast and we knew the temperature was dropping to -11 in the night. 

We agreed on draining the water from both water tanks in the galley and lavatory. In most aircraft this can be done from the Flight Attendant Panel, or from the cockpit. 

Very important is also to drain the pipe lines, the small tubes that connects the sink of the galley and lavatory to the big tank. 

When freezing, the water passes from a liquid to a solid state with an increase of volume. 

As consequence, the water that remains in the pipes could easily freeze and they would explode.  

For the same reason, also a half toilet service is necessary: to empty the waste tank but not refilling it with new water. 

To sum up, the water and waste system of the Private Jet must be empty. 

Items to remove

It’s also wise to remove some food and drinks items that could freeze or damage, such as water, olive oil, wine, chocolate, etc… 

Prepare an atlas box (container) or a cool bag and put inside whatever you can think about. 

If the space is limited, take few bottles of water and few of wine for each type. In this way you will have at least some bottles ready to use in case the others are frozen. 

Be aware that in this way you are taking the risk that, once back, you may find something exploded in the galley, credenza, wardrobe or cargo. If it’s water, it’s not too bad, but if it’s red wine it might be a problem!

Note also that chocolate becomes white when exposed to freezing temperature.

Emergency equipment

Another important thing are the emergency equipment: the defibrillator in particular must be removed from the airplane and stowed in a cool place, otherwise the battery will empty. 

Everything is usually left by the FBO until the next flight. 

This is not necessary if the Private Jet is parked inside a hangar, but they are much lower in number compare to the demand, therefore not always are available. 

In Moscow Vnukovo the hangar space costs about £ 2.000 per night. Hangars are heated and you can leave everything on board, as usual. 

Because of the importance of the winer operations, many Operators and Private Jet Management do ask the crew to complete a training or an e-learning module at the beginning of the winter season. 

Another training is required for summer operations, when the Jet might lands in extremely hot places like Saudi Arabia.

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