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Spring forward

It’s that time of year again when the birds are chirping, the sun is shining, and high above the fruited plain the sound of reciprocating engines fills the air.

Cessna 172As you head out to the airport for a few laps around the patch, maybe a flight review, and the eventual adventures that 2021 brings, here are a few things to think about. Safety first, of course. And perhaps a little fun for your passengers.

Avoiding April icing

As Robert Frost noted, April temperatures are notoriously fickle. When the air is still and the sun is out, “you’re one month on in the middle of May.” But when the clouds roll in and the wind kicks up, “you’re two months back in the middle of March.”

Those springtime temperature fluctuations can catch us all off guard. Whether it’s a short cold snap, a prolonged cold spell, or a quickly moving cold front, they can all seem to come out of nowhere.

But as pilots, wintry temperatures aloft should never be a surprise. What about you? How do you avoid altitudes where temperatures are at or below freezing when you’re in flight with visible moisture?

Preflight planning is the obvious first step. There are many tools available from Freezing Level charts to Icing Probability Analysis charts. Check them out at the new AOPA Weather site delivered by SiriusXM Aviation.

Once in flight, your outside air temperature gauge is an obvious and indispensable resource. But are there other resources available to you? Pilots who fly with SiriusXM can bring many of the features on with them in the airplane. You can even overlay detailed information on your moving map display with color gradients that depict the altitudes at which freezing and icing may occur. And speaking of altitude, if you are flying with SiriusXM Aviation you can receive important weather information whenever you want it, with no altitude or line-of-sight restrictions.

What other tricks and tools do you use? Click here to add your voice.

Creature comforts

Instagram: @amjohi

For those who are either nonplussed by the joys of flight, or grow restless on longer flights, is there anything you can do to make their flight more enjoyable? What do you do to keep your passengers entertained on a long flight?

Sporty’s and SiriusXM are offering AOPA members a “road-trip” SiriusXM radio for their aircraft with a SiriusXM Onyx EZR Radio (with aux plug for airplanes) offered exclusively at Sporty’s. The radio will show as $60 on the Sporty’s storefront, but will then be reduced to $9.99 with promo code SXMAOPA. To purchase the Onyx EZR go here and then call SiriusXM at 866-587-4225 and ask for the “Never Miss a Beat” offer to activate your radio and get three months free (with a $15 activation fee)—a $65 value. Rock on!

Other ideas for some inflight fun? Click here to join the conversation.

Want to try SiriusXM Aviation Weather for yourself?

SiriusXM offers 2-month trials of their aviation weather and entertainment. Call 877-888-6991 to activate your trial or visit to learn more.

Topics: Weather, Situational Awareness, ADSB

SiriusXM Aviation

SiriusXM’s satellite-delivered weather is always available inflight with no altitude limitations or line-of-sight restrictions. It provides coast-to-coast, high-resolution radar and weather features not available with ADS-B – helping you know what weather lies ahead so you can fly with confidence. To receive a two month trial of SiriusXM Aviation Weather and Entertainment or learn more about other SiriusXM offers, please go to