As the families of the victims prepare to identify the remains of their loved ones, crash investigators and air safety experts also have a difficult task ahead: determining how frozen water could have brought down a brand new plane with high tech deicing equipment…
Former Federal Aviation Administration chief investigator Steven Wallace says propeller planes, even large ones like the one that crashed near Buffalo, are far more susceptible to ice buildup than jets.
“Jetliners, one, they tend to climb up and down through the altitudes faster and icing only occurs in a 10 to 15 degree centigrade span,” Wallace says. “And one difference with a big jet airliner, they typically have heated wings. They bleed air off the engines to heat the wings.”
Turboprops, on the other hand, tend to have inflatable devices called boots mounted on the edges of the wings to knock ice off…
Last October, the NTSB renewed its criticism of the FAA over its snail-paced revisions of its recommended deicing procedures. In a blistering release it accused the FAA of complacency: “The FAA has stated that no unsafe conditions exist that warrant actions beyond those that have already been completed or are in the process of being completed. The Board is concerned that the FAA has reached this conclusion based on a lack of accidents or serious incidents.”
“You do a rash of wing icing accidents,” Robert Benzon said. “We rattle our sword. The industry gets its act together and then as time passes, things start to slip and 10 years down the road you get another rash of this type of accident. It’s a difficult thing to overcome.”
Good article – a great deal of detail and history. Worth reading if you want to have an educated opinion on the topic – and you should. You or your loved one might be on one of these critters some winter.