Ice - Wimpy or Wise?

PICPaul

Well-Known Member
Quick preface to this question, I'm a rookie pilot with 165 VFR hours, own a C150, and live in a village with no other pilots to ask this question of. I know the book answer to this, I am looking for what experience has taught other northern aviators.

We had a wicked ice storm over the weekend. I had wing and tail covers on and they were fully saturated with rain, which then froze very quickly as the rain segued into heavy snow which served to compress the covers into the forming ice making for the most tenacious ice I've seen on my plane in 2 AK winters tied down outside.

W/O any running water, electricity, nor glycol on hand at the apron, I was able to scrape a bunch of ice off my wings and tail. I also positioned the aircraft so that the sun hit it with max intensity. Unfortunately, the sun never did put out enough energy to melt the ice.

After 2 hours of work and with the sun going down, I realized I wasn't going to get all the ice off. I decided to scrub.

So, the question is, keeping in mind my C150 doesn't have quite the HP many of you are used to in order to power through problems, was I wimpy or wise to scrub my flight with this amount of ice?




 

USMCmech

Well-Known Member
So, the question is, keeping in mind my C150 doesn't have quite the HP many of you are used to in order to power through problems, was I wimpy or wise to scrub my flight with this amount of ice?
A light amout of frost will cost you 40% of your lift.

NEVER EVER take off with ice on any part of your lifting and controll surfaces in ANY aircraft.
 

ppragman

FLIPY FLAPS!
Quick preface to this question, I'm a rookie pilot with 165 VFR hours, own a C150, and live in a village with no other pilots to ask this question of. I know the book answer to this, I am looking for what experience has taught other northern aviators.

We had a wicked ice storm over the weekend. I had wing and tail covers on and they were fully saturated with rain, which then froze very quickly as the rain segued into heavy snow which served to compress the covers into the forming ice making for the most tenacious ice I've seen on my plane in 2 AK winters tied down outside.

W/O any running water, electricity, nor glycol on hand at the apron, I was able to scrape a bunch of ice off my wings and tail. I also positioned the aircraft so that the sun hit it with max intensity. Unfortunately, the sun never did put out enough energy to melt the ice.

After 2 hours of work and with the sun going down, I realized I wasn't going to get all the ice off. I decided to scrub.

So, the question is, keeping in mind my C150 doesn't have quite the HP many of you are used to in order to power through problems, was I wimpy or wise to scrub my flight with this amount of ice?




I'll vote good call. Know your ship, and know what it can and cannot take. Gradually, over time, you'll build up a working knowledge of what it can and cannot do. Right now though, at 165TT, even if it was all in that airplane, I'd be hesitant to jump right on blasting off with that much stuff on your wings. At about 165hrs I took off with about an inch and a half of snow on the wings, I figured (ehh, it will blow off) could I ever be so wrong, It took me 3000feet to get a speed that felt like flying in an empty 172, scared the bejesus out of me. Never again. Good call. I wouldn't fly it like that either.

When you do end up like that, best bet (if you don't have water/glycol/hanger, etc) is to take a shop broom and run it over the wings until you can get it somewhat smooth, then do some high speed taxis and see what the frost is doing. Then you can go back and scrap off what you can. Good call on your part.

Ohh, BTW, the biggest decider for me is the leading edge, its got too much junk on it. Did you really scrub though? PM me.
 

400A

New Member
Great decision on your part!!!

Ice is not something to screw around with. During your time as a pilot you will hear someone say something along the lines of "this XYZ airplane is great, it can carry a lot of ice". That phrase will probably get more than one person injured or killed. Airplanes are not meant to "carry" ice, they are meant to shed it, PERIOD.


Oh, and bridging is real.
 

USMCmech

Well-Known Member
"this airplane is great, it can carry a lot of ice".
Saying an airplane can "carry a bunch of ice" is like saying "the B-17 could take a lot of battle damage".

I have seen pictures of a F4U that had 3 cylinders shot off, it kept running for 20 minutes puking oil by the gallon to make back to base. Likewise I have seen planes that landed with massive amounts of ice. Just because it can STAY in the air, and make it safely back on the ground, dosen't mean you should ever take off in that condition.
 

Blip16

Well-Known Member
it is illegal to takeoff with any amount of ice on the airframe. doesn't matter if it is frost or ice, you can't have any on the surface
 

SpiceWeasel

Tre Kronor
I'll put it this way after seeing those pictures. There is a good chance that your decision has allowed you to be around to ask us the question, rather than see your name on an NTSB report. NEVER second-guess yourself on a no-go decision, you may well have saved your life by making that call. Without bringing the regs into it, that just looks like a scary amount of ice.
 

Blip16

Well-Known Member
i don't know what document it is exactly, but they stated that it is no longer acceptable to polish frost or ice off the wings and nothing can be adhering to the surface.
 

Polar742

All the responsibility none of the authority
with 248,400lbs of thrust I wouldn't take off with that amount of ice.

I pretty much agree with Zap on everything though...
 

JEP

Malko In Charge
Staff member
with 248,400lbs of thrust I wouldn't take off with that amount of ice.

I pretty much agree with Zap on everything though...
well look at mr smarty pants with the 4 engines.... :D ;)


seriously....no ice, is good ice......
 

PICPaul

Well-Known Member
Thanks for all the responses...I posted this because with no other pilots around I always second guess myself because there is no one else to help you flesh out your decisions and to verify for you if you are on the right or wrong track.

That's what I like about having you all around!
 

PICPaul

Well-Known Member
I should add too that in AK there are a bunch of high horsepower rigs being piloted around and I've heard the pilots of those rigs saying things like, "you'd be surprised how much of that ice sublimates once you are airborne." That kinda thing fed into my second guessing my call.

Lesson learned.
 

Baronman

Well-Known Member
I have had many a day where I got to the plane with it looking similar.....Then trying to keep a tight schedule with students, only to hope that the sun would melt it quick. Invariably it took a long time...

From the pics that sure looks like a lot of frost still there. No way I would go like that. It's good that you had that inner voice telling you not to go.

It's good that you're getting some ice experience. I'm not sure what your goals are but unfortunately there are MANY guys at airlines with 0 ice/snow experience and don't have the nerve to speak up about it. Frost is missed on walk arounds frequently..
 
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