AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2020 - 91

Flight
proficiency 9
vertical coverage, are prime places to
find icing conditions. Cold fronts tend to
have clouds with high liquid water concentrations, and thus favor clear icing
conditions. Warm front cloud masses have
smaller droplets, have rime icing, and tend
to be layered-but their vast cloud coverage patterns mean that icing conditions
could persist for hundreds of miles. An
ice-free diversion to an alternate airport
may be a long way away.
Geography also plays a part. Airflows
over, or originating from, large bodies of
water can help boost cloud droplet sizes,
liquid water contents, and also create
SLD conditions. The Roselawn crash
happened near Lake Michigan, and the
Great Lakes-along with New England
and the Pacific Northwest-are frequent
locales for the most dangerous icing
conditions.
There are many preflight sources of
information on the location and extent
of icing. Perhaps the best is the Aviation
Weather Center (AWC) website, aviationweather.gov, and its CIP and FIP maps.
These assign current and future icing
probabilities and identify areas of suspect SLD icing with red stippling. Under
"Forecasts," select the "Icing" drop-down
menu, then click on Forecast Icing. The
AWC's Graphical Forecasts for Aviation
(GFA) and Flight Path Tool also give icing
forecasts-the Flight Path Tool can be configured to show any icing alerts at a range
of altitudes along your route of flight.
Icing airmets can be called up from the
AWC by clicking on the "Advisories" and
"G-Airmet" links. For icing pireps, click
on "Observations," then "Aircraft Reps."
Model-derived forecast Skew-T plots
can be used if you want a more detailed
look at an atmospheric cross-section. On
the Pivotal Weather website, click on any
point on the U.S. map and up pops a Skew
T-but be sure the model run time is the
latest, and valid time is for the time of your
flight. Icing conditions are easy to find on
a Skew-T. Look for closely spaced temperature (red) and dew point (green) lines.
This indicates likely cloud and precipitation; if both lines are below the freezing
mark, icing is likely.

ACTION PLANS

Once in flight, your prime directive is
to avoid clouds and precipitation above
the freezing level. Besides your eyeballs,
there are several ways to keep you iceaware, and provide help if need be. FIS-B
weather products include icing airmets,
Flight Service can identify upcoming
areas of icing, and if on an IFR flight
plan ATC can provide advice and diversions. If flying under VFR advisories
(flight following) ATC can help if workload permits.
Let's say all has failed, and you're taking on ice. First off, how do you know? By
the time you notice ice on the wings or
windshield you may have already lost 10
knots of airspeed and face more accumulation as you carry out an escape plane.
That's why it's important to watch smallradius airframe parts, like rivet heads,
hinges, steps, and struts. These are efficient ice collectors that can give an early
warning. Obviously, you'll also want to
keep the outside air temperature reading
in your scan. In cloud and below 0 degrees
Celsius? Be ready to take action.
How should you fly in icing conditions? Flex the ailerons and elevator to
prevent ice formations from freezing
them up. If autopilot-equipped, make sure
it's turned off so you can sense changes
in control forces, and react accordingly.
Change engine rpm and propeller speed
from time to time to help keep the propeller free of ice.
Your pitot heat should have been
turned on long ago, but if it isn't, do it now.
Using carburetor heat or opening an alternate engine-air door can keep the engine's
air intake and filter from icing up. A climb
or descent of as little as 1,000 or 2,000 feet
can take you out of an icing zone, if conditions permit. So can a 180-degree turn.
Consider landing at a nearby airport.
Climb-or-descend strategies call for
caution. You certainly don't want to climb
thousands of feet to on-top conditions;
you'd collect more ice and put accretions
on the underside of the wings at your
climb angle of attack. Likewise, you don't
want to descend into solid instrument
conditions all the way to an approach
aopa.org/pilot AOPA PILOT | 91

Aeronautical
knowledge
exam 9
Pilot Protection
Services 

Learn more 
aopa.org/pps
or call
800.872.2672

Available for membership levels with Pilot
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AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2020

Contents
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2020 - Intro
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2020 - Cover1
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2020 - Cover2
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2020 - Contents
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2020 - 2
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2020 - 3
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2020 - 4
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2020 - 5
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2020 - 6
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2020 - 7
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AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2020 - Cover3
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2020 - Cover4
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