Summer is almost upon us in the northern hemisphere, but the FAA is embroiled in two significant icing-related issues: a proposed new rule for when de-ice systems are activated and a new interpretation of the term “known icing.”
Every few years, a debate erupts about whether the phenomenon of ice bridging is real or something questionable that pilots discuss while hangar flying or warning of the dangers of flying in icing conditions. The issue recently resurfaced at an NTSB public meeting about the icing-related crash of a Cessna Citation 560 in Pueblo, Colo., on Feb. 16, 2005.
Cessna 550 Citation II, Ft. Yukon, Alaska, Sept. 30, 2005–The captain, copilot and two research scientists were not seriously injured when Citation N77ND made an off-airport, gear-up emergency landing after both engines quit simultaneously. The University of North Dakota flight was doing icing research in IFR conditions when the accident occurred.
The NTSB concluded that the forced landing of a University of North Dakota Citation 550 research jet on Sept. 30, 2005, in Fort Yukon, Alaska, was caused by the pilot’s “improper use of anti-icing,” which resulted in ice ingestion into both engines and the complete loss of power. No one was seriously injured.
Much has been written lately about the potential cost of not de-icing a business airplane before attempting to fly it, so we posed the question recently in our AINalerts twice-weekly electronic news bulletin, “What about the cost of de-icing? The price seems to vary wildly. What is the most you have paid to have a business jet de-iced? What type of airplane was it, which facility de-iced it, and what were the circumstances?”
A recent letter from the FAA’s Eastern Region regional counsel has generated concern that the agency has abruptly changed its icing policy. Regional counsel Loretta Alkalay’s letter was in response to a request by flight instructor Robert Miller for a definition of known ice. Alkalay wrote, “Known icing conditions exist when visible moisture or high relative humidity combines with temperatures near or below freezing.
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