Aircraft Icing

Topics: Air safety, American Eagle Flight 4184, Air Florida Flight 90 Pages: 4 (1322 words) Published: April 8, 2005
Plane crashes occur for a number of reasons. There seems to be a consensus with the general public that flying is dangerous, engines fail and planes crash. That is true some times, although the majority of plane crashes occur largely due to a combination of human error and mechanical failure. In much of aviations accidents mechanical failure has been a contributing factor. It is impossible however to blame plane crashes on one reason since events leading up to an accident are so varied. Reasoning for plane crashes can be placed in a broad number of categories. Environmental conditions play a vital part in aviation as a whole. Much planning goes into a flight based on the current and forecast weather conditions for safety reasons. Accidents have occurred due to flying in bad weather such as thunderstorms with low level wind sheer, lightning, hale, icing conditions and poor visibility. Poor weather especially icing can be very dangerous to flight but most accidents can be avoided if the right precautions are taken to avoid potential bad weather situations. I will take a closer look at icing conditions on aircraft and give examples of icing related accidents

Icing, or ice buildup on the wings, is a particular problem for aircraft. When ice builds up on wings, it can disrupt airflow, robbing an airplane of lift and can decrease its angle of attack, which keeps it in the air. Wind tunnel and flight tests have shown that frost, snow, and ice accumulations (on the leading edge or upper surface of the wing) no thicker or rougher than a piece of coarse sandpaper can reduce lift by 30 percent and increase drag up to 40 percent. Larger accretions can reduce lift even more and can increase drag by 80 percent or more. (AOPA, 2002, 2). Deicing equipment is installed on most transports today, however much is still to be learned about icing. Nature can create conditions, which exceed those test conditions, and even aircraft certified to...

Bibliography: Peaford, A. (2002, July 26). IceHawk Gives Clear Picture to Potential Icing Problems. Flight Daily News. Retrieved February 18, 2005 from
AOPA Air Safety Foundation. (2002, November 11). Aircraft Icing. Retrieved February 19, 2005 from
Kilroy, C. (n.d.). Special Report: Air Florida Flight 90. Retrieved February 15, 2005 from
Potapczuk, M. (n.d.). Aircraft Icing. Retrieved February 18, 2005, from Research Associateship Program website:
Krock, L. (2004). Crash of Flight 111: Making Air Travel Safer. Retrieved February 17, 2005 from PBS, Nova Online website:
Holzapfel, E. (2000). The Fight Against Ice. Flight Safety Australia, p.37. Retrieved February 19, 2005, from CASA database from
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