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Guest tallpilot

Why isn't de-icing a requirement for clearance?

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With the recent crash involving Dick Ebersol and his family a question has been raised in my mind.Please realize that I have no REAL flight experience, so for you RW pilots please keep this in mind before the flaming begins.In the initial reports, an airport spokesman mentioned that it's the pilots decision to deice or not. My question is, not to lay blame at the pilot's feet, but why is deicing not required when certain weather conditions exist?If I drive into the mountains, often I am told to either put on chains or have approved snow tires. These are not "guidelines" but requirements for me to continue to travel down the road. These requirements are in place because without proper traction devices I pose a significant risk to myself, my passengers, and others on the road.Planes are grounded all the time due to inclement weather. Takeoffs and landings are not allowed if certain weather conditions exist (particularly conditions involving limited visibility).Why then, are pilots allowed to decide on their own when "de-icing" is warranted or not? Shouldn't deicing be a required prerequisite for takeoff should the proper weather conditions exist? If the airport does not have de-icing facilities, then shouldn't traffic be grounded unless they have their own deicing methods on the plane?I am not trying to lay the blame at anyones feet. We don't know why the pilot in the recent crash chose not to deice. We don't know if he made a critical error in judgement, or perhaps, bowed to "pressure" from his passengers to not delay departure for de-icing. Or perhaps there was something else mechanically wrong with the plane. We don't know, and may never know the "full story"The simple fact remains, according to preliminary data, icing most likely played a vital role in this crash. And if that is the case, why do we allow planes clearance to depart, if the conditions for icing clearly exist, and they have not been de-iced.Again, I may be totally ignorant, and many of you may bash me for having such an opinion with no real world experience to speak of. However, as a car driver, I am denied access to certain roads without proper traction devices installed on my vehicle. Why then don't the same rules apply to de-icing an aircraft?The REAL tragedy of most accidents is the fact that in many cases, they could have been avoided in the first place.

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I understand what you are saying...however, pilots are in command of the flight. Planes are grounded primarily for 2 reasons when vis is very badit has exceeded the scheduled carriers SOP (charter and private do not fall in this catagory)andthe airport cannot maintain ground operations and thus restricts operations (it is legal for a part 91/121 operator to take off in zero zero vis if the airport is operating - which many smaller ones do in limit vis).

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It is a requirement. Even for operations under Part 91, no pilot may take off an airplane that has frost, snow, or ice adhering to any propeller, windshield, or powerplant installation or to an airspeed, altimeter, rate of climb, or flight attitude instrument system; Snow or ice adhering to the wings or stabilizing or control surfaces; or Any frost adhering to the wings or stabilizing or control surfaces, unless that frost has been polished to make it smooth. (91.527)So, if anybody decides to attempt a takeoff in contravention to those requirements, then it is an illegal takeoff, even for private pilots. However, there is not going to be some of kind of police guy walking around the airport that is going to stop people from taking off because of this rule. It just would not be feasible. The pilot is supposed to know the rules and behave accordingly. If you hire a cop for this rule, where will it end, will you have cops looking over everybody's flightplan and making sure that the weather is good enough for them, or that they have adequate fuel, or that the plane has complied with all its ADs, etc., before each takeoff? Not going to happen. This is why they pay pilots the big bucks.

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Further to Mike's post, I've seen Part 91 flights depart (instrument flights) in 1/8 sm and VV00. Very stupid, as you have no way of getting back down to land if you need to. But, the PIC is the "final authority" as to the operation of the flight. It's a bit like the captain of a ship who can do anything he/she wishes on the ship, and is virtually the law for all intents and purposes. Airplane pilots (at least those who are PIC, if more than 1 pilot is on board) have this same authority (which is why we are usually pragmatic "control frieks" :) ).This doesn't make all decisions that pilots make correct (obviously). If the original poster wants to read some real wild stuff, subscribe to "Aviation Safety" (a must for all real pilots in my opinion), and see just how stupid some people really are.Bruce.

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Maybe we first WAIT for authorities to make definite correlation between icing and this tragedy at Montrose airport before making authoritive statements what pilots should have done in this case. At the moment all mentions of icing in this case are pure journalistic speculations.Michael J.WinXP-Home SP2,AMD64 3500+,Abit AV8,Radeon X800Pro,36GB Raptor,1GB PC3200,Audigy 2

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I agree, that publication has some useful information in it. Some of the decisions made by some pilots are, quite frankly, wreckless. A friend of a friend was a survivor in a fatal incident in Tennesee in which his instructor and another student (they were doing a paired lesson where one flies one leg, the other switches for the second leg) decided to take off after landing due to gear malfunction and decided to return even after finding that the engine died when on one mag durring their run-up. They made 50 ft and ended up in a barn, killing both up front. The motivating factor was most likely the urge to just get home since they were away from home base by quite a ways.In any case, most incidents are due to a rather long chain of errors that add up to become one large error. Perhaps you're off heading by 5 degrees and never feel the need to change it, now 3 hours later you're 20 miles off course. Fuel is low now but you really want to get to your destination, so you turn in a heading you think will get you there, you still don't see the airport and the fuel gauges are close to the "E", but you really want to get to your destination and keep flying, now you're out of fuel and forced to make a landing. In an attempt to avoid a forced landing in a field because you feel uncomfortable with landing on a soft surface, you aim for a road that is beyond gliding range, but figure maybe you can squeeze some extra distance out of it. You stall the plane out of the air at 100 feet above the ground before you reach the road.There are many reports published by the National Transportation Saftey Board that read like this. Anywhere along that path, something could have been done to correct the problem. The heading could have been corrected, they could have asked ATC for vectors, they could have landed at another field for fuel, etc. The urge to "get there" is not an unrealistic cause of accidents and is often found as a contributing factor in incidents like this. Pilots refer to it as get-home-itis. It has lead to quite a few scud running incidents as well where you try and fly VFR under a continually desending ceiling often fixating so heavily on how low you are under the clouds that you don't even realise own low you're getting to the ground.The FAA's Airplane Flying Handbook lists the 5 Hazardous Attitudes a pilot can have.Antiauthority: Not wanting to follow the rules for safteyImpulsivity: Acting immediately without any thought as to whether it will help or hinder the situationInvulnerability: Belief that nothing bad could ever possibly happen, that only other people get in accidentsMacho: Over confidance in abilities, usually in an attempt to impress someone on the ground or in the aircraftResignation: Belief that nothing one can do can fix the situation, an overall sense of hopelessness.In an emergency situation there are a few more factors as well. These are a "reluctance to accept the situation", a "desire to save the aircraft", and an "undue concern about getting hurt".As you can see there are so many contributing factors to any incident, it's hard to ever point to one as the reason for it. All you can really point to is the one that was the last mistake. It is useful, however, to look at these kind of reports as the errors others have made can add to our personal experience. Yes, it is tragic when someone loses their life due to one of these incidents, but as the saying goes, "Learn from the mistakes of others for you may not live to learn from all of your own."----------------------------------------------------------------John S. MorganReal World: KGEG, UND Aerospace Spokane Satillite, Private 130+ hrs.Virtual: MSFS 2004"There is a feeling about an airport that no other piece of ground can have. No matter what the name of the country on whose land it lies, an airport is a place you can see and touch that leads to a reality that can only be thought and felt." - The Bridge Across Forever: A Love Story by Richard Bach

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>Why then, are pilots allowed to decide on their own when>"de-icing" is warranted or not? Pilots are also required to have enough fuel when taking off (there are many more accidents a year due to not having enough fuel than because of icing). Pilots are also required to have aircraft properly loaded and within limits. Pilots are also required to check weather, NOTAM's ... Pilots are also required ... list is very long. How many tens of thousands airport 'cops' would it take to police airports 7/24 apart from how utterly ridiculous it would look.Michael J.WinXP-Home SP2,AMD64 3500+,Abit AV8,Radeon X800Pro,36GB Raptor,1GB PC3200,Audigy 2

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Correct, the only fact is that we know they refused de-icing, as to whether icing is to blame, we don't know. I do believe the interest in why a pilot would refuse de-icing is valid enough for a discussion though. So I hope this discussion focuses on his question of "Why isn't de-icing a requirement for clearance?" and doesn't go on to discuss the incident since it has no bearing on answering his question. It's a good learning experience for those in aviation and those looking into aviation in the real world to gain some incite into the regulatory and non-regulatory forces that affect a pilot's decision to make or refuse a flight. If it stays in those realms, I feel this will be a great topic.----------------------------------------------------------------John S. MorganReal World: KGEG, UND Aerospace Spokane Satillite, Private 130+ hrs.Virtual: MSFS 2004"There is a feeling about an airport that no other piece of ground can have. No matter what the name of the country on whose land it lies, an airport is a place you can see and touch that leads to a reality that can only be thought and felt." - The Bridge Across Forever: A Love Story by Richard Bach

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Good Points.Take a look here, and type in whatever scenarios you like, and look at the accidents.http://ntsb.gov/ntsb/query.aspFuel Starvation is a larger problem than deicing is, but not as much as flight into terrain is.How about mandating terrain warning systems in all planes, and parachutes too.In other words, you can't regulate every single possibility of accidents every time an aircraft goes down.Look at automobiles. How many died last year from drunk drivers compared to airplane accidents.Flying just like driving contains inherent risks.That is why they call them accidents.Regards,Joe

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JoeI agree :-) It is the captain of the aircrafts responsability to make sure that the aircraft is "fit" for flight.That is why he does a walkaround a preflight check and runs through a whole series of checks to make sure all the systems are functioning correctly.One of those checks is to make sure that the aircraft is "free" of ice.Another is to check that he has sufficient fuel for the flight with the required reserves.Regarding another comment re very poor vis/cloud base takeoffs, this is not quite as bad as it may appear.As long as he can clearly see the runway centreline and lights to accelerate to VR and beyond he is literally IMC soon after takeoff.Lets look at a takeoff with approach minima, say o/c 200 with 550 metres vis for the ILS.Should he have a problem after takeoff like an engine failure he is literally in the same boat (plane :-) as the near zero/zero takeoff pilot.Ok he may have a couple of seconds more where he can see some terrain in 550 metre vis and theoretically he could fly back for an ILS Minima landing but he may be better advised to secure the situation and divert to an airfield with better weather rather than attempting all the turns back to a minima landing on one engine.Hence on multi engine aircraft especially with aircraft with good single engine performance a near zero/zero departure is not that different to a departure with ILS Minima.Someone taking off in a single or even a poor peformance twin is taking a risk in takeoffs with return minima or for that matter at night. They are playing russian roulette.Infact you could more question the advisability of any departure in a single where there is insufficient visibility or clear air below the clouds to carry out a visual forced landing in event of an engine failure.Peter

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>Further to Mike's post, I've seen Part 91 flights depart (instrument flights) in 1/8 sm and VV00. Very stupid, as you have no way of getting back down to land if you need to. But, the PIC is the "final authority" as to the operation of the flight. It's a bit like the captain of a ship who can do anything he/she wishes on the ship, and is virtually the law for all intents and purposes. Airplane pilots (at least those who are PIC, if more than 1 pilot is on board) have this same authority (which is why we are usually pragmatic "control frieks" ).

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And even then there's always plain old bad luck.You make sure your aircraft is clean before taxiing out, then you get hit by some rain or spray on the way to the runway.Just after taking off you pass through a layer of cold air, that water freezes inside your pitot and flight control actuators, and you crash.Maybe an unlikely chain of events but anything that's not actually impossible is bound to happen at some point...

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No Peter,This was a Class Delta airport (KBJC, my own airport), with the tower fully operational. Part 91, several flights in succession. I asked my CFII (as we had wisely decided NOT to fly) why the published take-off minimums were not applicable, although I did recall from my own FAA theory workshops that take-off minimums are not applicable to Part 91. That was the reason alright. We also saw a G5 depart in Part 91 on the same day, same wx.I'll go check your other post, although I know that you and I have found on several occasions, instances were the aviation rules governing instrument flight in the UK and the US are so different, we might almost be living on different planets ! :)Thanks, Bruce.Edit: I looked at your other post. Here in the US, not all airports have RVR measuring equipment (the large ones all do, I believe). So, vis minimums are given in "sm" (statute miles). In this case, as I recall, it was 1/8sm vis in mist, although the IAP gives ILS Cat A minimums as 1/2 sm / 200' (we had 00VV that day too). Do all towered airports in the UK have RVR? I'm not even sure if taking off here in minimums below RVR for Part 91 is illegal, this was certainly not discussed in my IR theory as an exception to the "Part 91 no take-off minumums rule". But I do agree that one would need to be really dumb to do so. :)You must find a way to get to the Denver area, Peter. I would love to take you up and we could go have some fun. :)Bruce.

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>Further to Mike's post, I've seen Part 91 flights depart>(instrument flights) in 1/8 sm and VV00. Very stupid, as you>have no way of getting back down to land if you need to. No, I disagree. Most, if not all operators that allow departures with wx below approach mins require a departure alternate...a field close by with weather suitable for approach and landing if something goes wrong. I've seen plenty of V1 cuts in the sim that required me to fly an engine-out IFR departure to an engine-out IFR approach at another field. It's not stupid...it's a calculated risk that a properly-trained crew should be prepared for.>But, the PIC is the "final authority" as to the operation of the>flight. It's a bit like the captain of a ship who can do>anything he/she wishes on the ship, and is virtually the law>for all intents and purposes. Airplane pilots (at least those>who are PIC, if more than 1 pilot is on board) have this same>authority (which is why we are usually pragmatic "control>frieks" :) ).In an antiseptic world, this might be true. But in business aviation, in particular, when the guy who signs your paycheck wants to go-go-go it's pretty hard for the PIC to just say no-no-no. It's a common source of stress for corporate crews, as they get to deal with such challenges as travelers that show up with more pax than there are crash-certed seats, traveling partties intent on overloading the aircraft, or grueling itineraries that would be enough to wear out two crews. Forces some tough choices...tell the boss "no" and start working on your resume, or suck it up and take the risk. Happens every day in the real world. CheersBob ScottATP IMEL Gulfstream II-III-IV-V L-300Washington, DC

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According to FAR 91.175 (f) "Civil airport takeoff minimums. Unless otherwise authorized by the Administrator, no pilot operating an aircraft under parts 121, 125, 129, or 135 of this chapter may take off from a civil airport under IFR unless weather conditions are at or above the weather minimum for IFR takeoff prescribed for that airport under part 97 of this chapter. If takeoff minimums are not prescribed under part 97 of this chapter for a particular airport, the following minimums apply to takeoffs under IFR for aircraft operating under those parts:"If you are flying under Part 91, you can legally take off from any airport in any visibility. However, as stated in the same regualtion under part (d) it states that "no pilot operating an aircraft, except a military aircraft of the United States, may land that aircraft when

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