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Flights into known icing condition

Discussion in 'Technical Talk' started by flyinghedgehog, Mar 20, 2017.

  1. flyinghedgehog

    flyinghedgehog Well-Known Member

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    Pilots,

    I accepted a job offer, will be flying the BE-99, cargo , single pilot.

    Trying to find out as much as possible about operating in icing condition. Have been calling my mentors and reading about stuff online. My experience was a full year and then some in the Pacific NW doing my instrument training and commercial. However, the airplanes I was flying (Cessna , Seminole) do not have anti-icing capability so pretty much if there could possibly be any icing condition = no go. Easy decision to make...

    The BE-99 will be the first airplane I fly that has anti-icing capability and is certified for flights in known icing conditions. I have the whole summer ahead of me to figure out icing (will be released from IOE mid May to June and will probably be assigned to Phoenix base at first so not quite so dangerous, will be bidding for Seattle base and heard I will most likely get it sometime over the summer so gotta be careful in the fall and winter!). I understand that just because the airplane is certified for flights into known icing condition, does not mean it can handle ANY icing conditions. I have heard story about King Air picking up 3 inches of ice in three minutes (that is the worst I have heard so far...) in the PNW and have been told to avoid the upwind side of the cascade (been advised to climb high/get out of the clouds before crossing the Cascades, etc)


    I know my employer will train me but I would like to do my due diligence and research as much as possible. There is a member by the name of "Beech Boy" who had a few posts up about his experience and how his boss handled it (they wanted to suspend him for electing not to fly into -FZDZ, even though the manufacturer's tech support confirmed that the airplane could not handle it). His posts are very informative about the technicality and reasoning behind why SLDs are so dangerous.

    If any of you have anything to offer about flying in icing condition (especially in the kind of equipment I will be in --Turboprop with boots), and how well the BE-99 anti-ice works, I would appreciate it. My main concern now is that, since the BE-99 is certified the decision is not going to easy like I was when I flew the Skyhawk/Seminole (freezing level at 3000, cloud at 2000 up to 10000, we don't go , period). It is going to be more like---hmm okay there is a layer at 3000 and the temperature there is below freezing and oh also it is snowing. Can my aircraft handle that? How about these cloud layers, say one at 2000, 4000, and 6000 up to 10000. Let's say the temperature hits 0 at 3000 so it is a long climb to get above the cloud. Visibility is low and oh man, I will have to scan my instrument and scan my wings for ice accumulation too! How do I do that? Is it even a good idea? Etc.

    I know there is forecast and pireps there, but how do you know if the icing conditions you encounter is going to be beyond your airplane capability? You know, what you get when you are in the soup may not be what is forecasted or pirep'ed. things change. I need to know it is going to be beyond my aircraft's capability BEFORE I fall out of the sky so I can't just wait until I see 3" of clear ice on my windscreen to make that call.

    Anything you want to mention at all, even if they do not answer my original questions exactly, are more than welcome and will be appreciated.


    Thanks. Look forward to hearing from everyone.
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2017
  2. Crop Duster

    Crop Duster UNSUB

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    Congrats!

    Seen this?


    Try to avoid sounding like this...
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2017
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  3. flyinghedgehog

    flyinghedgehog Well-Known Member

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    Good job--- Now you scared me pretty good....I need it though, this is serious business.
     
  4. killbilly

    killbilly Vocals, Lyrics, Triangle, Washboard, Kittens

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    While I am not nearly as far along in my aviating as the OP, I, too, would like to hear this information.
     
  5. MikeFavinger

    MikeFavinger Well-Known Member

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    I have exactly one year experience flying a multi part 135 in icing conditions, and a few years flying a FIKI certified helicopter, so there are far, far more experienced guys and gals on JC who could help. I'll just put a couple things out there that hopefully other more experienced pilots could expound upon.

    Unless there's a SIGMET for severe icing or unless there's freezing rain at departure or destination, you're launching. In fact, the SIGMET part isn't valid if you can go around it.

    Pay very close attention in training about the limitations of your boots. Particularly with types of icing.

    You really won't know what picking up icing is like until you actually pick it up routinely. You'll gain experience over time. Don't sweat it.

    Pay attention to the tail plane icing video.

    For your aircraft type, try to ask around about an airspeed/altitude/power setting trigger where you'll know you need to start looking for outs. I can't remember what it was for a Baron or Navajo, but I remember knowing if the power setting was x and the airspeed dropped to y I needed to take an action.

    You might have boots on auto, but still actively mange them. But not too much. Let the ice build a bit before blowing the boots.

    It's okay to be continually picking up ice as long if your systems can handle it.

    Climbing is sometimes a better option than descending.

    "how do you know if the icing conditions you encounter is going to be beyond your airplane capability?" You probably won't know in advance. In my one short year of freight flying, I encountered icing conditions that exceeded my airplane's abilities just once. There were no PIREPs and just the usual AIRMET for moderate icing. The important part is to have a plan to exit the icing conditions should you have too.

    When I was hired, I had the exact same questions you do. Nothing really answered them sufficiently except for chatting with company pilots and experiencing it myself.
     
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  6. stradamus

    stradamus Well-Known Member

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    ...also not an expert, but I know what its like to transition from non-ice airplanes after years and years into the FIKI world and be a bit intimidated.

    reading 'Aviation Weather' was a first step for me, its very old material but has some pretty good (and still relevant) sections for this subject. Climbing is, as the above post writes, certainly a better choice then descending in many situations... My least favorite trips with ice are the ones were I've sitting at the MEA or minimum sector altitude 50 miles out with nothing to do but wait.

    The plan should always be simple: If you enter icing, get out of it if you can or try to find the altitude that has the least. That said, there are certainly trips where you are in it and will be for a while. You have some pretty good powerplants to rocket you up through stuff, and up here the ice often tapers off by fl190 on the high end, getting held low on departure and arrival are things to watch out for.

    I think the best advice that I can provide is to get as good as you can in your equipment, work on the comfort level of everything else so that you have some mental space to handle the transition of dealing with the new system and situation. As well be knowledgeable about your choices in the IFR system ( Pilots Discretion descents are your friend, ATC isn't the PIC, etc.) and learn how to operate safely when you are carrying ice.

    also, congratulations on the job, should be a blast!
     
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  7. z987k

    z987k TeamANC

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    The 99 handles ice like a champ. Push the power up a bit, maybe change altitudes stay above the min icing speed on approach, keep trucking. No big deal.
     
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  8. deadstick

    deadstick Well-Known Member

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    https://rucsoundings.noaa.gov/

    Read up on Skew T charts. Use this site to derive the data for your route and known whether warmer air is above or below you. 5-P's. ;)

    Blow the boots with 1" of accumulation or with a loss of 10 KIAS, before you increase the flaps setting (even if you see only a little on the main wing because there's more on the horizontal stabilizer), and at the FAF.
     
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  9. A300Capt

    A300Capt Well-Known Member

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    Congrats on your new job! Have fun!

    I flew the BE-99 for a short time in the NE US but it's been over 30 yrs. Most of my turboprop time is in a Metroliner. Just to clarify here, I believe the BE99 has deicing capability not full anti-icing (except for maybe a hot plate or windshield/pitot/static port heat). Anti-icing prevents ice from accumulating in the first place and deicing attemps to remove it after it accumulates.

    Icing is a funny animal. Too many variables to take into account to determine the proper course of action in a one size fits all answer. In general, avoid it! Yea, I know, being a professional pilot with a scheduled run and sometimes demanding employer tends to muddy the waters. Nothing prepares someone for next year's icing season better than last year's icing season. It's called experience, which usually comes from bad judgement which hopefully results in better future decision making.

    In general (it's hard to give advice since each situation is different), in solid IFR without the ability to get out of the IFR conditions (low tops, high bases) and not knowing where the warmer air is, my tendency was always to climb first. Why, you ask? Because I can always come back down but with ice accumulation I may not be able to climb later on. Keep an eye on the windshield wiper bolts. Ice tends to show up there quickly and is easy to see since you're sitting so close to them. Watch the spinners on the props as they'll also accumulate ice quickly and you'll begin to notice the props will be hard to keep in sync. You'll feel an increasing vibration from the props as they accumulate ice. In a desperate situation, changing (cycling) the prop levers a little will help eliminate the ice (you'll hear it being slung into the fuselage). That always got the passengers attention! On dark nights it got mine too!

    If I remember right, the PT6's had blocker doors you had to manually open/close to prevent ice from be ingested into the engine. Nothing pisses off a turbine engine faster than a disruption of smooth airflow into it. The PT6 is a pretty bullet proof proven engine and it can take a lot of abuse. Turn your igniters to the "on" position to prevent any potential flame-out issues.

    If you do accumulate ice on the wing leading edges try to avoid "popping" the boots until you have about an 1" of ice accumulations. Prior to that you'll likely just form an air pocket between the boot and the newly formed ice and that just makes the deice boots worthless at that point. Rime ice tends to be fairly brittle in nature. A small change of altitude, airspeed or deicing/anti-icing equipment activation will usually take care of it. Clear ice is another animal. It'll coat an airplane pretty fast. Avoid it!
    Severe ice (PIREPS, current/forecasts, etc..avoid)! Freezing rain....avoid!

    Finally, listen to PIREPS from other pilots in the area and what they did to successfully get out of the ice or find a more manageable situation. Let ATC know early on that you're picking up ice, what kind and intensity. This helps others and he may have options to get you out of it that others had reported. Don't wait till you're backed into a corner. Don't hesitate to declare an emergency if you need to do something "NOW" but ATC says "No" or "Wait". They may not initially know or understand the urgency of your situation. Once you "declare" they will make it happen for you expeditiously!

    After a season or two you'll have a pretty good handle on flying in icing conditions and will develop your own personal mins.
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2017
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  10. A150K

    A150K Well-Known Member

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    But...but..the FAA said ice bridging is a myth! :sarcasm:
     
  11. flyinghedgehog

    flyinghedgehog Well-Known Member

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    Well I heard about that too. I am talking with a Nasa research scientist who had been involved in inflight icing condition research and will ask him. ( I found his name on one of the icing threads here and somehow managed to get a hold of him)

    Will share what I find out on that thread.
     
  12. Jordan93

    Jordan93 Well-Known Member

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    Give PIREPs and listen to PIREPs.
     
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  13. Cpt Cook

    Cpt Cook Well-Known Member

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    Been there, done that. Flew the chieftain, 99, and metroliner out of Boeing field. Icing is pretty much gonna happen on a daily basis in the winter. Most of the scheduled flights are short enough that by the time you climb above it you are gonna have to descend for landing. Most of the time it's not a big deal. Use the deice equipment and be vigilant. If in doubt always carry extra speed on approach. I did get severe icing once in the 99. Couldn't climb and was about 10 knots above min icing speed. Worst flight of my life, but I can tell you the 99 can handle a boat load of ice. Some of the best flying and worst flying I've ever done. Have fun deicing your own airplane at the outstations.
     
  14. moxiepilot

    moxiepilot Well-Known Member

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    Many times a change in altitude of a few thousand feet will get you out of icing conditions. Remember it's a lot easier to climb when you're not too iced up than when your aircraft is descending because you have too much,...
     
  15. lightspeed

    lightspeed Well-Known Member

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    Excellent FAAST video on the subject... seemingly produced for pilots such as yourself.
     
  16. Zapphod Beblebrox

    Zapphod Beblebrox Well-Known Member

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    I will chime in, with kudos to all who have replied so far. One trick I learned and one that can be used in a more remote part of the country, is don't be afraid to ask for a block altitude to stay between layers and out of the ice. Even if it's not a cardinal altitude. I flew a Baron for over an hour in central Nebraska, at night at about 6700 ft indicated because it put me between layers. The open spot was about about 500 ft thick, and it went on for miles. Center was "no problem" with my altitude selection when I told them it was for ice.
     
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