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Welcome to eCLASS FIFTY:

How The New Guy Raises Safety Issues with the Veteran…

 

Here We Go…

PART 1:

plane

Set the scene…..

You are completing a charter flight.  Earlier in the day in clear conditions (CAVOK) you flew a Piper Seminole from Moorabbin to Cooma (high altitude airport) to the ski fields.  Your passengers return for you to fly them back to Moorabbin.  A weather front has developed.  You takeoff for Moorabbin on the direct route that you came in on.  The freezing level was forecast to be at 9000 feet but subsequent to the front is now at 4000 feet.  The wings and windshield ice up in only 3 minutes.  You are effectively a Piper Popsicle!  Your airspeed is decreasing and you have full power set, and cannot maintain altitude.

My ground rules…

  1.  Understand that each situation is different
  2.  This is to be used as guidance only to look at the process of coming to a conclusion
  3.  Gather the facts for each situation
  4.  This is what I would consider – always remember and trust yourself that on the day you are the best judge
  5. The figures are for demonstration only – always consult the flight manual
  6. The text in <brackets> is what is happening at the time

All this OK with you?

Step 1 – Basic overview

Acknowledge to yourself that a solution is required.

When you covered the effect ice has on an aircraft in theory you locked away the knowledge.  When the time comes that you see it forming on the leading edge of your wings and your windshield gradually becomes covered there will be lots of info running around in your head.  Hoping that it is not going to get that bad will be one of the thoughts.  You have never experienced icing before.  Your airspeed is decreasing so you have passed the hope stage.  You know that the only way to maintain your airspeed in a safe range is to lower the nose which means you have no choice but to descend.  You acknowledge that a solution is required urgently.

Commence Descent.

Keeping the aircraft flying in an unstalled condition is imperative.  As long as you can keep the aircraft flying you have options. 

 

{Theory Recap – what happens to stall speed of an aircraft in icing conditions?

Increase weight, increase Stall Speed, Reduced Manoeuvrability, Reduced Lift etc, etc…}

= IMMEDIATE ACTION

Determine your lowest safe altitude (LSALT)

The LSALT on this route is about 8500 feet and you are descending without a choice. 

[THE ABOVE IS AN EXAMPLE ONLY]

Accept that the forecast has changed.

Dwelling on whether you should have taken a different course of action before you departed is of no use to you now.

 

Step 1 – Gather the Facts

You can’t maintain height and ground contact is now becoming a factor.

—————————————————————————–

You look on your chart for lower ground.

There is lower ground if you turn south and deviate from your track.

The LSALT is about 4000 feet

—————————————————————————–

<YOUR AIRSPEED IS CONTUING TO DECREASE AND YOU ARE NOW DESCENDING THROUGH 9000 FEET>

You need to get rid of the ice.

Determine ways to reduce the ice.

—————————————————————————–

From your aviation theory some ideas to melt the ice come to mind.  You can descend to warmer air, try to get clear of cloud or increase your speed.

[N.B. Getting into clear air DOES NOT mean you will rid the airframe of ice, it just means you will stop any additional ice forming. Reduced performance still applies!!]

—————————————————————————–

<WHEN ICE FORMS QUICKLY ON THE WINGS – IT MEANS IT’S BAD AND PROBABLY GOING TO GET WORST IF YOU DON’T CHANGE THE SITUATION AND TAKE ACTION TO GET AWAY FROM THE CAUSE.  IE THE WEATHER YOU ARE IN>

—————————————————————————–

You need to advise ATC (air traffic control)

—————————————————————————–

When you decide on the plan or if urgent, after you have taken emergency action let them know ASAP. This diversion took you off a published Radio Nav Chart (RNC) track, so traffic (IFR) and LSALT are critical considerations.

—————————————————————————–

<YOU ARE NOW AT YOUR LSALT>

<YOU AIRCRAFT IS NOW COMPLETELY ICED UP AND STALL IS A REAL CONCERN>

—————————————————————————–

So we are clear at this stage:

  1. Your aircraft is on the verge of stall – no more power available
  2. Ground contact is a factor

 

Step 3 – Determine options and Immediately Act

Step 4 – Avoid dwelling on the what if’s

If you haven’t experienced this feeling already in your training or flying yet…..

YOU WILL!

Some of the decisions you find yourself having to make started out as unknown quantities.

At the moment the weather has changed from forecast, your day was evolving.  The cause is out of your hands.  As you enter the weather, the severity of the icing, to the best of your knowledge at the time was unknown.  As your aircraft begins to ice up, the final severity is unknown.

Worrying about whether you should have done things differently is not relevant until you have solved the problem.

So you need to move into the “known”.

You know you are iced up.  You know that you are over high terrain.  You know your speed is decreasing and you are out of excess power.

The important thing is that you realise there is a problem and act to find the solution.  In this case it was a matter of life and death and if you spent even a second of your time on dwelling on what you could have done – you could have stalled the aircraft with a terrible outcome.

—————————————————————————–

Once you are safely on the ground and aircraft is put to bed….

BEFORE YOU READ ON, NOW YOU SHOULD PONDER WHAT YOU COULD HAVE DONE DIFFERENTLY (IF ANY).

(Obviously this is an honesty system but you won’t do yourself any favours by cheating – you would just be cheating yourself)

This actually happened on one of my flights and here is his take on the learning.

 

  • If I had known the severity of the icing I would have planned from the outset the route with the lower ground (at the time weather updating, {a phone call to Flight Service for a voice briefing} was limited.  Nowadays we all use our Smartphones)
  • I had never experienced icing conditions for real.  I learnt how quickly ice can form and how difficult it is to remove without the luxury of de-icing equipment.  (All he had was carby heat – nothing to remove it from the wings in those type of aircraft)
  • I thought in hindsight that a diversion earlier would have given me more options

 

MY CONCLUSION…

When you read this remember that me are speaking as pilot with a lot of experience under our belts.  When you complete your licence you have covered all the skills you need, you just need to remember to build on them.  Take the management and knowledge that I talk about and make this part of your experience.

 

When you do your aviation theory it can be easy to skim over parts that you think that you may never experience.  So when you learn something, stop and imagine in your head the practical application of it.  Even if you only think of one or two scenarios.  It is this time you spend now that will save you in those aviation moments when you have limited time.

 

Always keep learning.

 

Your pilots licence IS A LICENCE TO KEEP LEARNING – I STILL DO.

{Interestingly, Craig recently completed an Airbus A330 conversion. At the time he discovered a chapter Titled “Adverse Weather Conditions”. Whilst there are some relevant sections to Australian operations, a majority of it is written around European and North American Winter operations. So he chose to “skim” over this area. Move   forward a few months, and, next Simulator session has Low Visibility Operations incorporating Cold Weather Ops. So, he will have to go back an re visit this section.

A PILOT SHOULD NEVER STOP LEARNING, THEY DAY HE/SHE DOES IS THE DAY TO RETIRE – BECAUSE THEY ARE DANGEROUS.

 

PART 2: Questions for You.

  1. Be honest with yourself – was there any part where you were unsure what to do next?
  2. If so, what are you going to do to address this? (Answer: spend more time applying what you learn in a practical sense in your mind)
  3. What happens to an aircraft when iced up?
  4. If you see ice forming quickly on the wings, is it going to dissipate as quickly?
  5. Write down all the things that concern you about this scenario and please raise them at the Webinar.

 

Next week’s preview…’Video Interview Series – Pilot Interview Techniques with Glen Solly the author of “The Pilot Guides…’

Find out how doing anything that you can even before you start will be of immense value to your career.


Congratulations on completing this Eclass.  Check out below the Eclass calender to see what’s in store!

 

If you need to use our Pilot Advice Service or have any questions or comments please send them to info@ouraviationsecrets.com

 

Don’t miss out on a opportunity by procrastinating.

Look forward to speaking with you at the Webinar.

Don’t Worry!

You will be sent the Webinar Invitation Link and Instructions closer to the time.

 

http---signatures.mylivesignature.com-54492-156-8639FF5164CAE1AC8E9290F679F028DBCaptain Craig Baker

Airline Pilot and Professional Pilot Mentor