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Iced Tea and Other Cold Drinks

by Harlan Gray Sparrow III
Reprinted with permission from FAA Aviation News

Let's face it. The only time we aviators want to see ice is in a cold drink and not on our aircraft. So why would any sane aviator depart knowing that icing conditions were forecast to be present along his/her route of flight? Except for pilot reports, icing conditions are always forecast, which means the conditions for the formation of ice on my aircraft may be present along my route of flight. To go or not to go! The truth is that there are many times those ice forecasts are in our weather briefings and yet we never see any ice during our flight. So why worry? Well, it only takes one good coat of ice on your aircraft to make a believer out of you. I decided that since summer is almost over I should start reviewing the latest information available on icing. Okay, maybe I'm a bit early, but as I found out there is a lot of 'stuff' to read. After a bit of Web searching I came up with a few U.S. Government Web sites that seemed to have the most current information. There are even a couple of interesting online courses. Check out these Web sites for yourself.

As we are the FAA, let's discuss those sites first. This first one is probably the best overall site in the bunch. In the General Aviation Pilot's Guide to Preflight Weather Planning, Weather Self-Briefings, and Weather Decision Making, each section is based on what the pilot really needs to know in order to properly evaluate the weather for the upcoming flight. There are references for additional Web sites that take the reader directly to the charts, weather maps, and many other planning resources. Appendix 6 has a very nice 'Weather Analysis Checklist. The web site address is: http://www.faa.gov/pilots/safety/media/ga_weather_decision_making.pdf.

'Welcome to PilotWeb' is one stop shopping. It has access to Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) and 'Weather' sites, not to mention a very extensive list of 'Tools' and 'Links.' It's a great place to get an overall view of numerous sources. The web site is: https://pilotweb.nas.faa.gov/PilotWeb.

This next site needs practically no introduction. This Web site is the electronic version of the printed NOTAM publication. The nice part is an easy access, without some of the fluff and diversions. Current NOTAMs are available from Flight Service Stations at 1-800-WX-BRIEF. The Web site address is: https://pilotweb.nas.faa.gov/PilotWeb/.

When you think of weather, the National Weather Service comes to mind as a primary source of information. Here are some of the Web sites it has to offer.

The really nice part of the Aviation Digital Data Service (ADDS) Web site is the pilot reports that are available with great pictorial views of current icing advisories. Its Web site address is: http://adds.aviationweather.gov/icing.

This following Web site features a chart for checking out the 'Current Icing Potential' (CIP) overview. Since most aviators like pictures, this is another good one to review. The Web site address is: http://aviationweather.gov/exp/cip.

These are just a sampling of the available sources for preplanning your trip. Also available for checking out online are free courses, manuals, and advisory circulars (AC) that can provide you with more information.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) provide pilots with a useful training tool. The two courses on aircraft icing offered on this site are great. Most questions about ground icing and in-flight icing should be answered. Enjoy! The Web site address is: http://aircrafticing.grc.nasa.gov/courses.html.

The FAA Safety Program Online Resources offers a variety of information and accompanying links for further guidance. The Web site address is: http://www.faasafety.gov/gslac/onlineresources.aspx.

The FAA offers a 'Safety Alert for Operators' (SAFO) that just came out in March, primarily because of the recent accidents involving ice. This Alert has a number of Web sites imbedded within the document. After reading this, aviators should have no doubt about how much ice on the aircraft is acceptable before takeoff. How about none! The Web site address is: http://www.faa.gov/other_visit/aviation_industry/airline_operators/airline_safety/safo/all_
safos/media/2006/safo06002.pdf
.

The Aeronautical Information Manual  (AIM) is one of my favorite sources of information. In Chapter 7, 'Safety of Flight,' paragraphs 7-1-22 and 7-1-23 address 'PIREPs Relating to Airframe Icing.' They also give one of the best descriptions of how to define 'Icing Types.' Check it out for yourself. When reporting ice to ATC, the definitions in paragraphs 7-1-22 and 7-1-23 are the ones you are suppose to use when making the report. The website address is: http://www.faa.gov/air_traffic/publications/ATpubs/AIM/TOC.html#Chapter 7.

The Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge is another wonderful source of information in plain language. Chapter 11, entitled 'Weather Reports, Forecasts, and Charts,' is insightful and comprehensive. The Web site address is: www.faa.gov/regulations_policies/handbooks_manuals/aviation/pilot_handbook.

An advisory circular that is available is AC 91-74, Pilot Guide: Flight in Icing Conditions. The purpose of this AC is to provide pilots with a convenient reference on the principal factors related to flight in icing conditions and the location of additional information in related publications. Its Web address is: http://www.airweb.faa.gov/Regulatory_and_Guidance_Library/rgAdvisoryCircular.nsf/0
/4F211DD2F5233B5686256C9B0056F7A0?OpenDocument&Highlight=91-74
.

Last, but certainly not the least is Aviation Weather. AC 00-6A started in 1943 as CAA Bulletin No. 25, Meteorology for Pilots. I have been following the changes and updates to this publication for over thirty-five years. It continues to be a great source for basic weather information for pilots. Pages 91 through 102 are informative about icing and its effects on our aircraft. The Web site address is: http://www.airweb.faa.gov/Regulatory_and_Guidance_Library/rgAdvisoryCircular.ns
f/0/C2DF8D9D7471617786256A020078083A?OpenDocument
.

There is excellent videotape on icing that was produced by Mitsubishi during the testing of the MU-2 series of aircraft. Be sure to watch it at one of the MU-2 Prop Seminars that are held in many cities throughout the US. For Prop seminar information and schedule, the Web site address is: http://www.turbineair.com.

The next thought will summarize, and focus, on the preparation that can save lives. Good flight planning will not always prevent you from getting into icing conditions at some time during your career, but at least you will be better prepared and trained for the best possible courses of action. To know what you will do, before the situation presents itself, is key. Plan those moments out painstakingly.

The phrase 'knowledge is power' comes to mind. This is applicable only if the knowledge is put to practical use. Check out these sources and make them favorites on your Web site list. Building a resource Web site list can only enhance and enrich your future aeronautical studies.

I wonder if getting a load of ice on your aircraft qualifies you for a T-shirt saying 'I got Iced.'

Harlan Gray Sparrow III is an Aviation Safety Inspector with Flight Standards Service's Air Transportation Division.

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National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration/National Weather Service Web Sites