December 2007 Issue

On a Mission: Managing Ice

The techniques with which mission-oriented operators using smaller aircraft stay out of ice are the same ones you’ll use this winter.

Aircraft utility can go down significantly in cold weather. Adverse weather is more common and tenacious than in warmer months, and along with the fog, low clouds and wind, there is often the threat of airframe ice. Yet we still want, and sometimes feel we need, to fly. How can we balance the possibility of airframe ice with the utility of our airplanes? How do the experts—those "on a mission" with their airplanes—predict, avoid and escape airframe ice? To answer these questions I spoke with professionals who slog through the weather every day (and night), flying high priority aeromedical, charter and air cargo in piston, turboprop and small jet aircraft.

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