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Discussion in 'The Okie Corral' started by cyriaque, Feb 3, 2005.
You were in a commercial a/c waiting to takeoff and noticed significant ice on the wing?
Have you actually had this happen, or just a theoretical question?
The hard part about being the pilot is not knowing whether the passenger knows what decicing fluid actually looks like, and how it works. You'll DEFINITELY see something on the wing in bad conditions, and the way it works is that there's what's known as the "holdover time". The time from when the stuff is applied to when it is not going to offer any more ice protection. The normal proceedure is for this soupy-mixture to blow off on the takeoff roll. So you may definitely see something out there in nasty conditions, and that may be just fine. The PIC is ultimatly responsible and any decent PIC should check the wings during such conditions before TO.
I'd have a fit. But as stated above the anti-ice will stay on the wing till flying off when going down the runway. I did see something that blew me away here at the Anchorage International Airport the other day. A Russian carrier( I won't name names) was actualy wiping the snow and ice off the wings with what looked like a big towel. With one person pulling on each end. I was shocked and then I learned that it was done like that all the time in "The Mother country". I would not have been a PAX on that flight I can tell you that.
But to get back on the subject.
The deicing procedure is usually done in two steps. The first being the "deicing" and the second being the "anti-icing" the anti icing fluid has a holdover time of aprox 30-45 minutes if a type 4 fluid is used or 100% glycoll. And your correct it is up to the PIC and the MX person to make the call to deice. We stand by to deice with any sort of precipitation in the forcast in the winter months.
I suggest you keep your mouth shut because chances are you have no idea what you are looking at, even if you are a licensed pilot. Unless you are an ATP familiar with that particular make and model of airplane, the particular aircrafts systems, the airline/airports procedures and checked the weather using a proper aviation source (that does NOT include the CNN channel running in the terminal), you better leave it to the professionals who are up on ALL of the above.
Let me throw in a real life story to illustrate this point. A very experienced Seneca pilot (private pilot) I know went on a flight with a CFII/MEI in his known-ice certified Seneca. The MEI had no experience with actual icing conditions in a boot equipped airplanes. They started picking up ice and the MEI demanded that the owner/pilot activate the boots. However, the owner/pilot felt that the accumulation was not enough for the boots to be effective and refused. Things got so tense between the two that the PIC elected to land at the nearest field rather than continue flying with the particular MEI. What would you do if you were the owner/pilot? What would you do if you were the MEI?
No, I have not had it happen to me, but it has obviously happened to many others. As far as keeping my "mouth shut" because I'm not an expert-well, let me just say that the "experts" seem to f___ up enough to remove that as an option for me.
Quite honestly if you "raise holy hell" you're just going to wind up looking like an idiot. Quietly mention it to a flight attendant, including any qualifications that you may have. They'll call us. We'll wonder WTF do they want now? They'll mention that some guy with a private/comm/ATP/moustache thinks he saw ice on the wings. We'll either say, "That's just deicer, we've still got 10 minutes on the holdover." Or, "Hmm, it is snowing pretty hard, maybe we should take a look." No fuss, no muss, and we'll be on our way without scaring the bejeezus out of the sheeple.
You are very right, experts do mess up. So, in your opinion, the way to solve that problem is to let every amateur who has no clue what he is looking at dictate how the plane is flown?
That is a very ignorant position. As a CFII and user of common-sense, I know that it may not be the best idea to continue flight in icing conditions even in an aircraft certified for flight into known icing. Tell me, how are you going to remove clear ice from the wing/lift surface? Last time I checked, boots, "hot wings", weeping wings, and electrical hot-plates are only attached to the leading edge, and effectiveness at removing clear ice attached to surfaces other than the leading edge can be poor to non-existant. Continuing flight in a stratus layer (at a constant altitude) with a sigmet zulu active may simply be a bad idea, no matter how much equipment you have.
I'm glad you know it all, but erring on the side of caution is never a bad idea, no matter if you have to learn a few hard-lessons about what may not be critical. There was the flight in canada that would have been saved if the news of the ice made it to the cockpit. The pilot's do not have a view of their own wings. To be fair, when an aircraft takes off in this kind of condition(with ice attached), there's usually a whole plethora of things that have gone wrong, as with Air-Florida. On the other hand, at any one point the disaster could have been averted by taking action after any one of these things (not getting deiced before TO, taking action after Px bring up issue of ice on aircraft, anti-ice off for TO, not using full thrust, etc).
The more you inform your passengers, the better. You're getting deiced, or the FO is getting the clearance, or waiting for a TO slot anyway, so inform the Px about the anti-ice fluid to help eliminate the possiblity of "false alarms".
No, the way to solve the problem is to take action as a pilot and spend 20 seconds breifing your passengers.
"Quite honestly if you "raise holy hell" you're just going to wind up looking like an idiot. Quietly mention it to a flight attendant, including any qualifications that you may have. They'll call us. We'll wonder WTF do they want now? They'll mention that some guy with a private/comm/ATP/moustache thinks he saw ice on the wings. We'll either say, "That's just deicer, we've still got 10 minutes on the holdover." Or, "Hmm, it is snowing pretty hard, maybe we should take a look." No fuss, no muss, and we'll be on our way without scaring the bejeezus out of the sheeple."
The above is the position I take.
Contrary to c6601a "So, in your opinion, the way to solve that problem is to let every amateur who has no clue what he is looking at dictate how the plane is flown?" which reads a lot into my statement. I can't help but wonder what he would have done if he was a passenger on one of the 9/11 aircraft. If I remember correctly, the "amateurs" prevented another A/C from a possible crash into the White House and the "experts" and "authorities" let the terrorists on the A/C. We have an obligation to raise questions rather than sit there because the "experts" or "authorities" don't want to be bothered or challenged. That's not an egregious act.
Perhaps I spoke a bit harshly earlier.
Fact is, I've lost three good pilot-friends over the years; two died as a direct result of some alledged professional on the ground failing to properly do their job. I used to really enjoy flying; long ago I thought it was what I wanted to do. Now it's more a necessity than anything else.
I'm not afraid to give credit where it's due; a few weeks ago the wife and I flew from MDW to BNA and landed under what must have been Category III conditions. The crew did an excellent job, and I told them so on the way off.
The original post to this thread used the words "significant ice". In that situation I would inform an attendant, and if that got no appropriate result, get up and demand to speak to the captain immediately. That would probably get the proper response.
As to the above comments about "looking like an idiot" to the other passengers, I'd much rather be thought a fool by a bunch of total strangers than to have my charred body parts comingled with theirs.
I guess I just didn't fly long enough to get to the point that I thought a passenger didn't deserve an answer to their question.
Sometimes the passengers didn't like the answer, like, "if that happens we will all die", but if they have a concern or question they should get an answer from someone in the know.
As a passenger, I'd ask about that "significant ice on the wing".
As a crew member, I'd explain why it's no problem and thank the passenger for pointing out what they thought might be a safety problem.
With all due respect to c6601, I really do hope that you will mention what you have seen to a flight attendant. You can't throw a fit or anything, but I feel you have the right to say something. If you word it correctly he/she will most likely go call the flight deck on the interphone. They may first give you the usual, "No, it's really okay. That's normal," explanation. But 30 seconds later you'll probably see them on the phone. Then it's up to the flight crew to determine what action they will or will not take, but it must fall within the guidlines set by the FARs and their company operations manual.
Part of the problem with the question that was asked is that it doesn't adress whether or not precipitation is currently falling, or if frost or some other type of contaminent was already on the surface of the wing.
Like flygirl mentioned, type IV fluid coupled with continued precip, can make the wing look contaminated. As long as the holdover times for that type of anti-ice fluid are adhered to, that simply is not the case, and departing under these circumstances is not a danger.
However, it is important to remember that even FROST, with a roughness equal to fine grain sandpaper can cause a decrease in lift of 30% and an increase in drag of 40%. That is huge, and has caused numerous hull losses and fatalities over the years. Keep in mind that is "ONLY FROST". That being said, be carefull what you say and how you say it while aboard an airplane. You don't want to go to jail for interfering with the duties of a flight crewmember. Do remember what c6601 said, this is most likely not your area of expertise, and the crew is well trained.
Anyway, to make this short story a little longer, if you see something that you don't like... I don't think you should be afraid to say something. It's your butt strapped inside that pressurized metal tube. Not to mention that the FARs (14 CFR is the correct term these days I guess) specifically prohibit a pilot from taking off with frost, snow or ice adhering the wings (along with just about anywhere else). If you want to read exactly what it says and you can find a copy of the FARs, it's under 91.527(a)
I've seen bad things happen because people departed without complying with the "clean aircraft" concept. I guess that's why I turned this into a novel. Hope it didn't sound too much like a rant. Fly safe.
I only read a few of the first posts but I just heard from crewmember on a flight a couple days ago that got de-iced and was taxiing out. #2 to take-off and a passenger got the attention a flight attendant. The pax showed the flight attendant that the right wing had not been de-iced. More than 3 inches at least of snow and ice. The de-ice crew had missed that wing and at about the same time, the city de-ice crews must have found out they got some planes mixed up somehow and called the plane in question back. Close call and I'm glad someone was thinking AND speaking up.
Thanks. Point made. I've learned in life that there are always people who are "rulebound" and view authority figures as having the right to be unquestioned. I think a lot of them have been supporters of this war in Iraq-but that's another rant for someone else.
Actually it's very much a function of your briggs-meyers personality type. Luckily I'm an INTJ, which falls exactly into this line of thinking about "questioning authority" when it seems that there is something wrong.