Last week I attended this months Transport Canada Aviation Safety Seminar. The topic was winter weather and icing presented by a CBC Meterologist (Nick Czernkovich).

I learned quite a few new things thanks to his presentation. Consider the following situation:

You’re flying above the clouds in non icing conditions. As your making your way to your destination you realize that there is freezing drizzle forecast/occurring for your time of arrival. This was not anticipated.

However your alternate is currently experiencing freezing rain. There are other options, however. Another airport is showing hail, while a fourth is showing snow.

Essentially what Nick is going to answer is: “Given the type of precipitation falling, can you determine your risk/chance of icing as you descend into the clouds and land at the airport?”

The answer is yes. Unfortunately, I didn’t take any notes during the presentation so I can’t give you any more detail then that. Your best bet is to land at an airport with snow. This type of condition will yield the least amount of icing.

One of his pet-peeves are pilots that go straight to the METAR and TAFs for their weather briefing. His philosophy is to take a look at all available resources: GFAs, METARS, Upper Winds, etc.. Don’t look at what’s happening now, but what happened in the past few hours. Understand the current weather conditions and make your predictions. Correlate what you think is going to happen with the TAF. They should match.

If you understand why the weather is going to be a certain way, then you are better prepared for designing exit strategies when you encounter adverse weather.

Icing was the main topic of discussion however the focus was more on tailplane icing, rather than wing/airframe icing. Recovering from a tailplane stall is way different than recovering from a wing stall.

He suggested that you purchase the NASA Icing package which includes videos, simulations, and data on all of the research NASA has done on icing. The entire package is available for only $10 from Sporty’s.

I’m going to see if I can get a copy of Nicks presentation.

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2 thoughts on “Understand Why

  1. John,
    That presentation is out of date. Nick sent me the one he used last week, so I’m going to include it in a post today.

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