February 2011 Issue

Unknown Icing

Even if the airframe is clean and dry, water can be trapped inside, freeze at altitude and ruin your day. The only sure cure is a warm, dry hangar.

This time of year in the Northern Hemisphere, airframe icing takes on much greater importance for most of us flying personal airplanes than it does at other times. There are good reasons for that, and anyone trying to conduct regular winter operations should closely monitor weather trends and plan accordingly. But the seasonís wet and cold can create an icing-accident situation even on a severe-clear day with dry air. All it takes is some water and cold temperatures. The fact is, you need not encounter textbook icing conditions for the slick stuff to pose a threat when the ice hides inside the airframe, out of sight, probably out of mind but most definitively not out of the picture.

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