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In-flight Icing is another pilot’s nightmare. Icing can form on the rotor blades in temperatures at or above the 32ºF freezing point in areas of low pressure. Photo: Garth Grimmer

you more concerned about “managing” correctly? And for my last middle of the night

cold sweat: In-flight icing. In-flight icing is about as fun as standing on your head while gargling peanut butter. Unless you are fortunate enough to live in areas with warmer temperatures throughout the year, you can count on icing “opportunities.” Precipitation at or below the freezing point is an obvious concern for icing and should get your undivided attention. However, the dan- ger doesn’t stop there! Icing can form on the rotor blades in temperatures at or above the 32°F freezing point in areas of low pressure, like above a rotor blade developing lift.

JANUARY 2012 It is important to remember that the

amount of ice build on a helicopter (blades and airframe components) is dependent on the air temperature. During temperatures between 20°F to 32°F, ice can form on the leading edge of a rotor blade, starting at the blade root and outward, covering 70 percent of the blade span area, and covering 20 per- cent of the chordwise area of the airfoil. Plummeting on down from less than 20°F to 0°F, it is possible to have 100 percent rotor blade ice coverage from the root to the tips! The dynamics of icing goes on and

on and I strongly encourage you to do your homework and know the particu- lars of icing and its associated dangers.

22 While I must admit that only one of

these topics has actually kept me up at night (icing encounter) they are all of great importance to me. I am thankful my student brought these topics to light for me by presenting the question he did. Are you a CFI? A line pilot? A pri-

vate pilot? Ask yourself, what matters to you, what is it that “keeps you up at night?” Share your thoughts and knowl- edge with other pilots and students. Sleep well and fly safe! ◆

Matt Johnson is an active CFI-I, HEMS and Law Enforcement pilot. He is a Helicopter Master CFI and member of the Society of Aviation and Flight Educators, as well as a FAASTeam representative.

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