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Author Topic: Another ice problem near Buffalo tonight  (Read 24032 times)
Cessna172
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« Reply #30 on: May 02, 2006, 09:50:48 PM »

Thanks for the clip. Pretty tense! shocked

I totally agree with the majority opinion. She definetly should have told the controller that she wanted vectors to the nearest airport.

Here's a question: if the 78L pilot was VFR only, and that had happened, and she re-gained control at 6,500, which is in the clouds, do you think that the controller would let her stay at that altitude? I know it says in the FAA regs about the cloud restrictions for VFR flight, but do you think that, if she ABSOLUTLY wanted to stay at 6,500 for control reasons, the controller would let her?
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chris325ci
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« Reply #31 on: May 05, 2006, 04:53:56 AM »

I'm an enroute controller (ZOA) who used to be in the terminal option.  This controller did a poor job of assisting the pilot.  It actually bothers me to listen to this tape.  He could have assisted her in a number of ways but instead seemed to have taken the situation rather lightly.  No MVAs or MOCAs issued, let alone runway and airport information.
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dan9125
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« Reply #32 on: May 05, 2006, 07:21:59 AM »

It bothered me too, i heard it happen live! by the way, what are MVAs or MOCAs ?

 thanks Dan
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KSYR-pjr
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« Reply #33 on: May 05, 2006, 07:58:17 AM »

Quote from: dan9125
It bothered me too, i heard it happen live! by the way, what are MVAs or MOCAs ?


Minimum Vectoring Altitudes and Minimum Obstacle Clearance Altitudes.  

Based on my perspective on the other end of the radio, these attitudes are generally the lowest altitude that ATC can issue for en route IFR aircraft, as it is it the altitude that guarantees not running into anything on the ground.

For example, just south of the NY State Thruway (toll road) and approach Buffalo from the east, the MVA is 4,000 feet.  However, north of the NYST the MVA is 2,100 feet.  Being that you are from the area, you can guess why:  Large hills and towers to the south of the NYST, relatively flat and low terrain to the north.
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Regards, Peter
ATC Feed:  Syracuse (KSYR), NY
dan9125
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« Reply #34 on: May 05, 2006, 10:50:15 AM »

So is that why planes arriving into Buffalo for runway 32 have to stay at 4000' for so long. I hear complaints from pilots on occasion during the winter wanting to get lower due to ice build up but the tower makes them hang at that altitiude.

 Dan
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digger
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« Reply #35 on: May 05, 2006, 04:27:14 PM »

Quote
He could have assisted her in a number of ways but instead seemed to have taken the situation rather lightly. No MVAs or MOCAs issued, let alone runway and airport information.


I'm not sure the pilot was in any condition to absorb runway and airport information. The controller offered general airport locations a couple of times, with no response to that particular information. I don't think MVAs or MOCAs would've helped at the time either. (If she was approaching those altitudes that information might've sacred her even more!)

I didn't think the controller's suggestion that "We'll have people standing by in that area" was the best thing he could've said either--that was like saying, "When you're finished crashing, then we'll be able to help".

One thing that wasn't said, that I thought would have been reassuring, was that there was no other traffic in the vicinity, or that it had been vectored out of the way, and she had unobstructed airspace to do whatever maneuvering was needed.
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KSYR-pjr
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« Reply #36 on: May 05, 2006, 08:26:14 PM »

Quote from: dan9125
So is that why planes arriving into Buffalo for runway 32 have to stay at 4000' for so long. I hear complaints from pilots on occasion during the winter wanting to get lower due to ice build up but the tower makes them hang at that altitiude.


Exactly.  When I learned that the MVA northeast of Buffalo was 2,100 feet, that was my out when approaching Buffalo  from the east last winter.  I would request vectors that put me into this area and then requested 2,100 feet, which (at least for my Monday AM commutes) was low enough to get below the icing layer.
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Regards, Peter
ATC Feed:  Syracuse (KSYR), NY
freightdog
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« Reply #37 on: May 22, 2006, 07:34:50 PM »

As a seasoned Caravan pilot, this recording sends chills down my spine.

It sounds to me like the pilot encountered moderate to severe icing. The sudden dive could have been due to a tail plane stall caused by ice accumulation. Or the plane could have loaded up with ice and lost sufficient airspeed to enter a wing stall. It's hard to know, which. The blocked pitot tube only added to the pilot's confusion. Pitot heat can only do so much, so I wouldn't jump to the conclusion that the pilot forgot to turn it on.

While second-guessing the pilot is tempting, remember that many Caravan operators provide little if any training for dealing with ice encounters. Even with some training, it can be difficult to tell how much ice is accumulating at night. Most of the aircraft are flown single-pilot, which doesn't help.

My experience is that cycling the boots in the Caravan can have little if any effect. Usually the ice cracks, some flakes off, and the majority stays firmly attached. Even if the ice sheds from the boots, there is the problem of runback to the unprotected surfaces.

The FAA issued an AD that prohibits the continued operation of a Caravan into moderate or greater icing conditions. It also restricts autopilot use. You can read more here:

http://freightdogtales.blogspot.com/2006/03/patch-upon-patch_17.html

My three step approach to flying the Caravan in ice is:

1) Avoid - know where you're likely to encounter ice and don't fly there.

2) Evade - never let ATC put you or keep you in icing conditions. Be assertive and declare an emergency if you have to.

3) Escape - when you ice up, have an escape route already figured out so you can shed the ice or land

The Caravan is a great plane, but it becomes one scary ride when loaded up with ice. Kudos to that pilot for regaining control.
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digger
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« Reply #38 on: May 22, 2006, 10:28:03 PM »

Thanks, freightdog, for sharing your "direct experience" point of view.

Admittedly, any discussion we can have here amounts to "Monday morning quarterbacking", but do you have any thoughts on the pilot's decision to press on to her destination, as opposed to landing at the first suitable airport, as so many here have suggested would have been wise?
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freightdog
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« Reply #39 on: May 22, 2006, 10:47:26 PM »

Once she was out of the ice and all her equipment was functioning normally, I can't think of any reason not to continue the flight. It could also be that her domicile was at her destination and she just wanted to get home. That would be understandable, given what she'd just experienced.
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spallanzani
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« Reply #40 on: May 29, 2006, 01:45:03 AM »

I think that I would have landed right away after such an incident.

In my opinion, I do believe that the ATC did a great job. I don't think that it would have helped to give her precise information or vectors. She was in panic and it looks like she was talking a lot to calm herself. Any specific information given to her as she was fighting to get the aircraft back under control wouldn't have been very efficient.
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ecrane99
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« Reply #41 on: May 29, 2006, 10:16:46 PM »

After such a horrific incident and all that flipping around I think a landing would be a the best option.  If not for that reason,  at least to avoid another icing encounter.  Ed
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freightdog
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« Reply #42 on: May 29, 2006, 11:09:17 PM »

My last comment on this, I promise.

As to whether ATC could have done a better job, I leave that to the professional air traffic controllers to debate. As a professional pilot, I think the bottom line is that ATC can't fly the plane for you or do your flight planning or tell you how to handle an icing encounter.

Airframe icing is usually encountered in isolated areas at limited altitudes. Climbing or descending 3000' is often all it takes to escape. The key is don't hang out where ice is accumulating and have an escape plan if you do run into ice. Based on the recording, the pilot descended below the freezing level, regained control, and was out of the icing conditions, so landing for that reason wasn't necessary.

As a flight instructor, I always encourage GA pilots to always take the conservative approach. The thought of departing controlled flight as a result of an icing encounter is terrifying and shouldn't be taken lightly. The thing is, experienced professional pilots are expected to get a job done. This is a different world than GA flying or flight instructing, where you can easily choose to stay on the ground or land if the weather is bad or gets bad. The Caravan is (at least for the time being) certificated for flight into known moderate icing conditions and this sort of thing can happen. Professional pilots go through recurrent training for this and other sorts of emergencies, while GA pilots fly to maintain a base level of proficiency which is a different world altogether.

Check out this link: http://freightdogtales.blogspot.com/2006/01/dont-mess-with-ice.html
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