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Light Icing


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Guest Angry Egg Driver

I have encountered moderate icing on several occasions.Last winter,about this time of year,in Chinchauga we were on the ground for 2 days.Ice fog is a big problem in that area as i'm sure a lot of you know.Anyways the fog lifts and we have 5 miles vis and 1000' foot ceiling.The hounds are all waiting for gear so off come the covers,hook up the bag picker and away I go.Everything was good,flew across the job 3 km and picked a rack of bags.Took them to the trailer 800m away and dropped them off.Turned to head for more bags and just like someone through a white sheet over the window I was in severe icing.No indication at all.It was pouring rain and -35.Not much time to think about it,look through the bubble in the door as this is all that remains un-iced and there's a source line right there.Plunk it down and park it.Luckily had the covers in the back seat and covered it up right away.The entire machine is covered in 1/8" of ice.


I got ribbed by the crew and especially my engineer about leaving the machine in the bush overnight,of course all in good humor.

I often think about what would have happened if I were on a ferry trip and ran into those conditions at those temps.Being prepared in the winter goes along way to staying alive. :P

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Well VR, I wouldn't be so sure about this being ok. 1/4 to 1/2 mile is not exactly legal vis 1/2 or more is legal, and 40 - 60' agl is not legal either unless landing or taking off. Come on, thought you with your icing story in the north would have been a little more realistic.


Did I miss something, he didn't mention anything about airframe ice only or about shutting down regularly to confirm no blade ice. It is not necessary to call a spade anything other than a spade. This was not a safe, legal, or any other nice word, it was a sh#t show. Being caught it is is one thing, 4 hours of light ice build up in an extremely low altitude is another.


Yes, AOG did fess up, but that doesn't mean it was not an extremely unsafe thing to do,(unless of course as I mentioned before it was just a pointed stick to get a bunch of us riled, then thats just mean).


Ice on this occasion was only a sample of the things wrong. How would you judge an engine failure or gov failure at these altitudes. Have just been dealing with a court case where the engine failed at 200' and 60 kts = pilot + 2 dead and 3 injured. Weather perfect, landing spot ok, 180 auto = sh#t. Wake up and smell the bacon.


Count me off any band wagon to justify AOG's bad wx day. Some people have paid alot heftier price for just being caught trying to get somewhere, let alone going out looking for trouble as in this instance. A little heckling is sweet music compared to the friggin engineout horn.




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AOJ wrote :


" Unpack my girl got the blades spinnin, pull pitch and went for a burn around the prospect at about 50-60 alg start picking up a little ice but not to bad lower the pull to about 40' agl and things started to shed. Not to shabby. Head back to stagging through on a 25'er and spent 4hrs swingin with light ice build up but went well. "


I'm not a Harvard graduate, but in this case there is no need to be to figure out that the above description of an event was in contrevention of not only the regulations but good airmanship.


I'm surprised at some of the replies to this one, if you believe that you can justify making a decision to fly based on the above description of the weather then maybe you need some education regarding safety and good decision making.


Chas W.

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I think u should reread my post in a more "scholarly" manner. Show me in my post where one has broken any rules or regulations!


And please direct me in the CAR'S where 40' to 60 ' agl is not permitted during seismic operations for a lot more than just takeoff and landing??? Be pretty hard to fly bags all day at 500' agl no?


Your engine failure or governor failure hold no water in this...tell me the disadvantage of being on a 25' line compaired to a 150' line when all this happens?


My arctic adventure's were "non rev" in an attempt to locate a downed aircraft and crew where communications were lost! whole different ball game!


My post was a bit of a spin on AOG's not so perfect day!


I wonder how this compare's to flying "thru" the rain, freezing rain and layer's to get to the stakes up on the open bowl!!!


I think you know me better than that Skully. Try rereading in a more constructive criticism. And if not...no worry's. There are those individuals who fully understand what I have tried to explain.



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Hello Ladys and gents hope everyone had a good day.


Mine was cavok.... ;) :up:


Once again thank you everyone for participating in this forum good or bad, I just have one request wich is lets keep it clean (no shoots below the belt), not that its gotten dirty yet but this is a topic that could turn in a hurry.


One thing that I would like to mention is that the conditions that I wrote were observed first thing in the morning, nothing was said about the conditions at the time of the flight. Only that there was a bit of accumultion at about 60ft agl (all numbers were also estimations) lots can change in four hours.


Somtimes I wish I was alittle better with words but unfortunatly for me I was not bless with that talent (probably couldn't talk my way out of an open door) :wacko:.


I hope that most of you have it in the back of your minds that I would not commence a flight that I thought to be unsafe! Or that would resault in anyone getting harmed including myself and equipment being damaged. Not sayin that this makes anything right or wrong with this situation.


Thanks A.O.G.

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Well VR;


If you think it is just jim dandy to fly 60' agl with a 25' line and bags hanging 10' below that(25' clearance) than go right on ahead. I really doubt you do, why defend such actions, and if you have done so in the past then have misunderstood your ethics. Will you be breaking any law, not unless you come withing 500 ' of persons or property and said person or property gets damaged. The catch 22 here is that if you do damage person or property(calf gets trampled) then you are in violation, no if ands or buts.


Ice build up on the airframe which on a helicopter includes vertical and horizontal fins is against the law, icing is icing. Where are the intakes and rotors but near the airframe, thus ice coming off can fod engine or rotor. All of a sudden the whole helicopter is a critical surface.


Yes is easy to fly bags to and from staging at 500' efficiently.


You seem to think the length of line is my determining the ability to differentiate engine/gov failure, no, it is the height agl, ie; 60 feet in bad visibilty and ice building.


Yes I have flown heliskiing where there was some chance of hitting rain(low) freezing rain(mid level) then snow(high). This is usually the case going for fuel one every 1 hour or so, and can count on one hand the number of times on one hand that I had to climb(myself on board) into the cold snowy level. Never flown through "layers" though, only flew through a cloud once than that was on purpose in a Gazelle many moons ago, and will never do so again. Yes on occasion there have been clouds down in the valley below me but have remained over terra ferma continuous. Maybe this is one of those drunken stories of mine. For which I apologize for my embellishments.



So next time you are out in weather like this proving to yourself that everthing is tickady boo and before the sh#t goes to shinola, think about who's waiting back home, and who's gonna p#ss on your grave. A hint; one of them is me and the other are nice.


If I hurt your little feeling, I apologize, I just don't like condoning this type of flying, or attitude for that matter. :up:





The above opinion is given by one "friend" to another who know each other "well" no need for anybody to have a hissy fit. VR is a big boy and can handle me without help.

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I'll take all the help I can get! :P



You are completely correct in what you have said Skully! And I agree!



As for the rest of you, I guess AOG and myself are the only one's who have ever had to scrape ice off a machine no? :blink:


Oh well...



Remember, not one of us even knew what icing was until the first time we all encountered it!

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VR-------AND sometimes you do it "by the numbers" to the best of your experience and abilities and still "fork it up". Draw a line between Coral Harbour on Southampton Island in the north end of Hudson's Bay all the way down to Churchill, MB on the coast. Get all the wx reports from FSS. Notice that all PIREPS, etc make no mention of ice or precip at all. Now put yourself in an Aztec on a Medocvac trip. Fly that course DIRECT so that you can keep your reserves (99% over open water) in the Fall of the year. Start to pick up ice when you've past PNR and realize that you have to keep going forward into it.....you have no choice because all possible alternates have "socked-in". It doesn't stop and the ice keeps building, melting, building again and off again and then on again, etc. You arrive at the button of the active at Churchill slightly above stall speed at FULL power and make the button finally.......why it hasn't stalled into cold, icy water you will never know to this day. Taxi up to your hangar and take a look at the engineer's face when he sees the state of the a/c. That flight wasn't planned to be like that, so ask yourself if you'd do it again on purpose and what you might change. Imagine what thoughts will pass through your brain when you witness some peer taking off intentially some day into those same conditions.


Eons later when someone says "Geez, you got a lot of experience", you think to yourself "Ya surrrree, I got a lot of experience alright buddy......you'll never know how much". :hide:

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My first expierence with icing was on a medivac, -30 and I couldnt believe my eyes it was raining. When it hit the aircraft windscreen it was freezing instantly,

Alot of pressure was on me to get the patient another 10 miles into town but made a call to just land in a farmers backyard and have the ambulance come out to get the patient, but believe me I wanted to continue, after shutting down and seeing what was on the blades made my heart skip a beat (actually I think it stopped).

My next time was doing a run up on the ramp for the enginneers, run it up to 100 percent for 5 minutes, as I'm sitting there I notice my torque going up more and more, after 2 minutes at 100 percent it was at 70 percent. I shut it down and quickly noticed a inch of ice on the blades, It was a eye opener to see how fast it can build, at that rate if I was in the air with even 2 people on board the aircraft with me, I could have not maintained flight.

Nobody knows how fast ice is accumulating on your blades "NODBODY".

Along with the CARS, I'm sure most if not all ops manuals say, "NO FLIGHT IN KNOWIN ICING CONDITIONS." I dont believe in doing a job where you have to land shut down check your blades and the continue doing that all day, If you have to do that, its just a matter of time until we read about you.

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