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Aircraft Icing

by John M. White |

It may be a little late in the season, but aircraft icing remains a top priority for the NTSB (National Transportation Safety Board) and designated as "Red" on their "Most Wanted" list of changes for the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) to address. This issue has been on the NTSB's "Most Wanted" list since 1997, some 13 years! It is hard to understand why the FAA takes such a long time to analyze, evaluate, create and implement solutions that the Safety Board sees as being crucial to saving lives and improving flight safety for travelers and pilots alike. Despite calls for action none have been taken, and just like the pilot duty time issue, the FAA seems to have its feet stuck in concrete.
I don't know about you, but I have spent a fair bit of time flying in ice, and I can tell you that it can vary from a trace on the boots to rapidly growing ice that you can't get away from soon enough. Sometimes, as pilots, we think because the aircraft we fly is certified for flight into known icing conditions that ice accumulation can't kill us. This is a big mistake. Below I am including a series of 3 videos which go into great detail about aircraft icing, and I would encourage anyone who flies to take the time to watch all three. You will be surprised at what you learn. In 1981, the NTSB published a report titled "Aircraft Icing Avoidance and Protection" and recommended the FAA review icing certification criteria. This study followed a series of icing-related accidents where aircraft operating in icing conditions raised serious concerns about operating aircraft in icing conditions. This report is an effort to inform pilots of the dangers of icing to their aircraft and safety, and to encourage caution when operating aircraft during icing conditions. Have you had any experience with aircraft icing you would care to share? Please let us know. Until next time keep your wings straight and level Hersch! JetAviator7 Flying is so many parts skill, so many parts planning, so many parts maintenance, and so many parts luck. The trick is to reduce the luck by increasing the others. — David L. Baker

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