Flying in Icing Conditions

Its 7:00 pm the temperature outside is 2°C and its freezing rain.  Your passengers are scheduled to arrive in 30 minutes.  What do you do?  As a pilot it’s your responsibility to get from point A to point B safely, your passengers depend on it.  How?  You ask.  By studying and understanding all available information concerning the flight.  Does that sound familiar?  Well it should (FAR 91.103).  It means knowing what you will be encountering and how to deal with it. I found myself in this exact situation.  By the time the passengers arrived the freezing rain had completely covered the aircraft, and begun to stick.  The freezing level began at 1,000ft AGL and the ceiling was at 2,000ft AGL.  After looking at all the variables we, the Crew, decided to de-ice the airplane with type I followed by type IV.  The type I is used mainly to remove any ice accumulation while the type IV helps to prevent ice from forming for a longer period of time, which allowed us to get the aircraft safely in the air before any ice had the time to form.

De-icing solved the first issue, now what about the clouds and rain aloft.  At 2,000ft MSL the temperature was 0°C with visible moisture (Icing conditions), now we had another issue.  As a pilot you are advised, any time the outside air temp is between +10°C and -30°C and your’ in visible moisture anti-ice should be used.  So we turned on the engine anti-ice.  When using engine anti-ice the maximum allowable power settings are reduced, so we consulted the checklist for the proper power setting.  Other considerations included the fact that engine anti-ice increases fuel consumption. However we had ample fuel so this was not an issue. Leading edge icing

During the flight, since we were in icing conditions, we regularly checked the wings for surface ice, using the wing inspection light to see the wing.  Ice accumulation never exceeded ¼ in on the boots (the amount of accumulation suggested by the factory for effective use of the surface de-ice).  The flight continued in these conditions till 5 minutes prior to landing.

In the end the trip was completed safely and successfully and the passengers were on time. By knowing the conditions and the aircraft we were able to work together to make the trip a success.

By Jason Solley,
PIC CE500 Series

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