January 2015 Issue

In-Flight Icing Training: Ground Only for Most

Even though icing causes 10 percent of weather-related accidents, training in icing in non-FIKI aircraft is illegal. Here’s what you can do about it.

Training to handle in-flight icing is one of aviation’s worst Catch-22s: Most pilots fly airplanes that aren’t certified for flight into known icing—therefore it’s illegal to take dual to get experience in ice in those airplanes—so the first time a pilot gets into icing conditions, he or she is all alone in of the most complex situations in aviation. The FAA’s “just say no” to flight into icing approach is not rational given that, according to an AOPA study of NTSB data, icing accounts for 10 percent of all weather-related accidents and 22 percent of fatal weather-related accidents. With those kind of odds, it would seem that a pilot who flies IFR where there’s a risk of airframe icing would do his or her utmost to get hands-on experience in dealing with ice in the type of airplane she or he normally flies.

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