Less than two months after two possible weather-related fatal crashes of EMS helicopters in Illinois and Iowa, the FAA issued a Special Airworthiness Information Bulletin (SW-08-03R3) covering recommendations for rotorcraft powered by turboshaft engines flying into snowy or icy conditions. The SAIB describes procedures to reduce the probability of an uncommanded in-flight engine shutdown due to snow and/or ice ingestion and reminds operators that most helicopters are not approved/equipped for flight-into-icing conditions.
The FAA today issued a notice of proposed rulemaking to remove wording in Parts 91, 125 and 135 allowing pilots to take off with frost on wings, stabilizers and flight controls “if the frost has been polished to make it smooth.” The polished frost rules are found in 14 CFR 91.527(a), 125.221(a) and 135.227(a).
A preliminary report issued by the UK Air Accidents Investigation Board on the January 4 crash of Challenger 604 N90AG at Birmingham, England, raises a suspicion that frost or ice on the wing may have been a factor. The aircraft, operated by Epps Aviation of Atlanta on behalf of agricultural machinery manufacturer Agco, had arrived the previous evening at 8:39 p.m. after a nonstop flight from West Palm Beach, Fla.