• In January 2006, two pilots flying an American Eagle Saab 340 out of San Luis County Regional Airport in San Luis Obispo, Calif., nearly lost control after the autopilot shut off during icing conditions on climb-out. The Saab 340 lost 5,000 feet during the recovery.
The crash of Colgan Air/Continental Connection Flight 3407 (a Bombardier Dash 8 Q400) on February 2 has again raised the same issues about in-flight icing that came to light after the 1994 icing-related crash of American Eagle Flight 4184 in Roselawn, Ind., and other icing accidents.
What was to have been a routine milk run on March 19 from Nassau, Bahamas, to Orlando, Fla., for Comair Flight 5054 turned into several moments of sheer terror when the Embraer EMB-120 Brasilia began accruing a coating of ice as it entered IMC at 18,000 ft about 46 min after takeoff.
Pilatus PC-12, Bellefonte, Pa., March 26, 2005–The NTSB determined the probable cause of the crash of the PC-12 on an ILS approach to University Park Airport, State College, Pa., was the pilot’s failure to maintain sufficient airspeed to avoid a stall, which resulted in an inadvertent stall and spin. Factors also included the pilot’s failure to follow procedures/directives and clouds.
Cessna Citation 560, Pueblo, Colo., Feb. 16, 2005–The failure of the crew to activate the de-icing boots of the Circuit City Citation on approach to Pueblo in icing conditions and failure to maintain airspeed caused the crash of the airplane, the NTSB concluded. (See page 1 for full article.)
The NTSB believes currently required stall-warning systems are not adequate to cover all critically low-airspeed conditions and has recommended that the FAA require the installation of so-called “low-airspeed alert” systems on all airplanes used in FAR Parts 121 and 135 commercial operations.
The NTSB determined today that the Feb. 16, 2005 crash of a Circuit City Cessna Citation 560 during the approach to Pueblo Memorial Airport, Colo., was caused because during the approach, as they flew through a cloud containing supercooled liquid droplets, the flight crew didn’t activate the deicing boots at the first sign of ice buildup (as specified in the AFM) and possibly not at all, and didn’t monitor airspeed, which led to a stall.
The NTSB is recommending that pilots of Cessna 208 Caravans approved for flight into known icing conditions be required to undergo annual training for ground de-icing and flight in icing conditions. The Safety Board also wants Cessna to develop appropriate guidance materials to minimize the chance of Caravan icing accidents. The recommendations stem from the NTSB’s study of 26 icing-related Cessna 208 accidents in the U.S.
As I prepared to pen yet another article dealing with winter operations, the realization hit me that we will likely have ice-related accidents. It seems that every winter we are peppered with articles dealing with many of the issues that need to be addressed to maintain safe flight under some challenging conditions.
Concerned about the growing number of Cessna 208 Caravan icing accidents, aviation authorities in the U.S. and Canada have issued a bevy of new recommendations, airworthiness directives and restrictions. Caravans continue to be plagued by icing accidents–more than 34 to date– and the number of lawsuits against the manufacturer is mounting.
- Page 1