For those of us who have "hit the boots" (or the equivalent
system on your favorite bird) a few times in the last few days due
to the ever-present seasonal 'charms' of in-flight icing, we
thought a series of short tips from Cirrus Design's Scott Winter
(yes, that IS his real name) might help us all to consider some of
the realities of this time of year. So... here are the first of
seven tips for dealing with icing. Y'all be careful out there!
Icing Aero-Tip #3: Escape Options
When warmer temperatures can be reached aloft. Make sure cloud
tops are known and attainable before attempting to climb. Icing is
often worst in cloud tops. Remember once you are on top of the
clouds, it is possible you may have to descend through the clouds
and icing conditions into your destination.
When warmer temperatures or clear air are below. Be aware of
cloud ceiling and minimum enroute altitudes prior to choosing this
When the aircraft will exit icing conditions expeditiously. This
should never be the last option.
When conditions enroute are worse than forecast. Check weather
at all available alternate airports along your route of flight, and
always know where you will choose to go.
When conditions after departure are different or worse than
forecasted. Monitoring the outside air temperature (OAT) gauge on
departure will assist the pilot in forecasting any icing that may
be up ahead. If the OAT is colder than forecast, it is likely that
other parts of the forecast may be incorrect as well.
Declare an Emergency
When ever the safe outcome of the flight is in doubt. Icing is a
legitimate emergency to deviate from your clearance.
About Scott Winter
Scott is a member of the Flight Standards Department at Cirrus
Design Corporation in Duluth, MN (one of those places that see more
than its fair share of icing encounters). Born and raised in
Milwaukee, WI, he discovered his passion for aviation at an early
age. After obtaining his Private Pilot Certificate prior to his
senior year in high school, he attended Minnesota State University,
Mankato (MSU) and graduated with a Bachelor's degree majoring in
Professional Flight. In December 2006, he completed his Master's of
Science degree from MSU spending time focusing on aviation weather,
scenario-based training, and visualization techniques to enhance
the methods used to educate aviators.
Note: ANN thanks Cirrus Pilot William Dobson
and other members of the Cirrus community, for the use of the
excellent SR20 icing pix...