It’s getting near to that time of year again, so a thought for the day!
(Acknowledgements: John Zimmerman/Air Facts)
Icing doesn’t actually cause a lot of crashes, but it’s a uniquely frightening event for most pilots. Especially in airplanes with no de-icing equipment, ice can seem to almost take control of the airplane away from the pilot. While we’re getting better at forecasting ice, it’s still a mystery to many pilots, so anytime the temperature is below 4.5C/40F and you’re in clouds you should be alert.
Lesson: Go beyond the PIREPs and learn to read Mother Nature’s signs for when icing may be an issue: lows, temperature inversions, strong lifting forces and more. Aggressively search out reports of cloud tops so you know whether getting on top is an option. If the situation deteriorates, don’t hesitate to declare an emergency and exit the ice immediately. Do not linger in ice, even with de-ice equipment; it’s time to execute your backup plan immediately (you do have one, right?).