Getting Rid Of Airframe Ice

Whether you left the plane out in a storm or picked it up airborne, ice on the airframe can be a challenge to remove.

The King Air pictured at right was able to land with this much ice likely because of its anti-icing capability. But those systems cover the wings, tail surfaces and propellers, among other large components, and don’t remove ice accumulated on the fuselage. Even if the wings and tail were perfectly clean, the added weight and drag will make for lousy handling and increased risk of an approach/landing mishap.
Whether you left the plane out in a storm or picked it up airborne, ice on the airframe can be a challenge to remove.
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  1. One part of the King Air which has a less than positive effect when iced up are the stall trips on the leading edges. Not only is their presence required to control the handling of the aircraft on landing but they are also required to be present for certification (initial out of the factory, as well as after any maintenance activities in which they get disturbed) – they are also not located in the same spots from left to right because of the airflow over the wing being not identical between LH and RH wings and thus an airworthiness concern if missing or incorrectly located .

    When attached to a de-ice boot, the ice may come off of the stall strip but these little strips of rubber which are less than 1/2″ in cross section and anywhere from 10-14 inches long are neither heated nor typically the focus of any special cleaning and ice-shed product application. If they don’t shed ice or if one sheds ice but the other does not you may find the landing “a bit squirrely”,

    • Hey Steve,

      That is super interesting! The PC-12 had similar stall strips if my recollection is correct, which may explain the substantially higher approach speed and required partial flap landings with ice on the airframe. You would be in “pusher ice mode” when the prop heat was on and the inertial separator was opened, which had you crossing the threshold at a ref speed of 95-100 knots and flaps 15, depending on weight. Compared to flaps full and around 80-85 knots, the landing distance was increased dramatically.

      I’m sure the issues you mentioned with the stall strips were a contributing factor in this design, since having them iced over certainly mitigates their effectiveness.


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