FAA Not Happy About Polished Frost

 - November 15, 2006, 9:15 AM

A new FAA Safety Alert for Operators (SAFO 06014) has been published to emphasize that if pilots plan to take off with polished frost on the wings or control surfaces as currently permitted by regulations, they should do so only in accordance with an aircraft manufacturer’s approved procedures. Yet, according to the FAA, the accident history has shown that contamination “of any kind” can adversely affect the aerodynamic properties of an airfoil, “and that the safest course of action is to completely remove all contaminants from wing and flight control surfaces.” Therefore, the FAA says in the SAFO that it “cannot support the practice of merely polishing frost on a wing or control surface.” The agency also says that, pending rule changes, operators should ensure that no contaminants, including frost, are adhering to wings or control surfaces immediately before takeoff. At press time, it was not clear if the FAA would initiate rulemaking to prohibit polishing frost instead of removing it.