November 2011 Issue

Iced-Up Departure

A Skylane pilot tries to outclimb icing conditions in low IFR, with deadly results.

Airframe icing is one characteristic of flying I’ve learned to respect. Over the years, I picked up my share of it, once carrying at least a quarter-inch of the clear kind for another 500 nm or so before it melted on descent for my destination. In the winter, I pay particular attention to Airmets Zulu, along with temperature aloft and cloud forecasts. There have been many occasions when I simply cancelled or rescheduled a trip on learning the freezing level was at the surface or below my desired cruising altitude and visible moisture was about.

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