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Operating in Heavy Snow/Ice conditions

your_dreamguy

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I've always lived in a warm weather climate. Also, I've mainly flown in warm weather climates as well. So, I was wondering if you could give me some good advice on taxiing on taxi surfaces covered in snow and/or ice with signs and markings covered with snow. Advice on use of differential thrust or delayed tiller responses, etc.

Also, any advice on takeoffs and landings on runways that have some snow on them? etc.?

Hope to hear from you.
 

GuppyWN

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Runways - land in the touchdown zone and use reverse, not brakes.

Taxiways - slow down! painfully slow as a matter of fact.

If you are in low vis check the back of your taxi page for restrictions with obscured runway/taxiway markings.

Type IV fluid is your friend.

Snow on your wings is not.

If you're not in a jet....... it sucks to be you! I remember having a deice boot literally blow up on me when I needed it most. Sure don't miss those days.

Gup
 

LearLove

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turn your prop,windshield,pitot ect. heat on before your go into the clouds/icing.
 

BLUE BAYOU

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At airports where only centerline lights exist and no edge taxi lights are present (JFK--only reflective sticks in many spots), the only safe manner in taxiing in whiteout conditions-- is to follow the tracks ahead of you, unless it leads to an aircraft that is not moving (in the grass)...
 

Spud

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1. It's solid ice after the last high speed.

2. All taxiways are solid ice until proven otherwise.

3. Don't call braking action fair if it's not.
 

NCherches

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Don't call it poor or nil either as some operators can't land depending on their OpSpecs :)
 

tdwnds1

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Takeoff-watch your holdover times for anti/deicing fluid used. There may not be a holdover time available for heavy snow and especially not freezing rain.

- Dont forget pre-takeoff checks (nothing on the wings!)

- Use contaminated runway numbers (if available) in your airplanes GOM.

Landing- Watch the Mu values (anything below .25 is bad news)

Same as above- Reverse thrust, but make sure your contaminated landing numbers are known for your aircraft since they are NOT based on having TRs.
 

The Prussian

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Don't call it poor or nil either as some operators can't land depending on their OpSpecs :)


Disagree!!! You have an obligation to tell it as you see it!!! Maybe they shouldn't be landing...maybe nobody should be landing. With those kind of conditions, you may be the last good info before someone loses it...

...and...often this is the info that gets the airport snow equipment out to take care of the situation.
 
Last edited:

SpauldingSmails

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I don't know what kind of plane you're going to be flying... however if it's a Beech Turboprop with little mains (like a BE99, king air 1,2,300 with standard wheels/tires) its fairly easy to drag a hot brake through some snow or slush and end up with a frozen brake caliper once the contaminant re-freezes. On ice you may not even know your wheel isn't spinning until you melt the tire.

If your plane has the luxury of "brake de-ice" that should do the trick to clear them once you're in flight, if that system is deactivated like all the ones I flew, be careful and you'll be fine. Check the tires carefully for "ice burn" after taxi-in to make sure you haven't compromised your tires.

When landing, plan to have the aircraft slow and ready to turn-off well before the end of the runway, especially at airports that may not have the greatest snow removal. The reason being, many aircraft will clear the runway before the end, and past that point the runway is usually much slicker as very little traffic exits or taxis toward the very end. Braking action reports can be useless in that case.

A perfect example of the above is at Chicago-Midway landing on RWY 31C, there's the angled taxiway "B" toward the end where most traffic exits, if you're not off at that point you best be quite slow, past "B" braking-action will be much less.

MDW Diagram.
http://204.108.4.16/d-tpp/0911/00081AD.PDF
 

Ticker

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The worst ice I've ever seen was from "Light Freezing Drizzle". Never saw ice grow as fingers and claws before that.

That same winter the American Eagle crash in Roselawn happened. One of the big findings was SCLD Super Cooled Large Droplets...turns out Light Freezing Drizzle qualifies as SCLD. That same winter an old salt of the earth guy I flew with (he flew B26's in WWII) taught me to always consider any type of "FREEZING" precip as severe and not to be fooled by words like "light". He also told me that when it came to ice, he always considered discretion the better part of valor.

Here's a couple of good articles:

http://airs-icing.org/publications/Cober%20-%20An%20Example%20of%20Supercooled%20Drizzle%20Drops%20Formed%20through%20a%20Collision-Coalescence%20Process.pdf

http://www.aviationtoday.com/regions/usa/Roselawn-Crash-Still-Relevant-Icing-Continues-to-Kill_3230.html
 

Green Banana

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Seriously, If you have to ask on a forum like this, DO NOT FLY as a PIC until you get some real instruction in your aircraft or SIC time with an experienced pilot.
 

ImbracableCrunk

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Don't call it poor or nil either as some operators can't land depending on their OpSpecs :)

If someone goes off the runway after you said braking is fine, I hope the survivors track you down and string you up.
 

Ticker

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Amen. These reports are what brings the snow equipment out to the runway. The most Airport's Certification Manual and the Winter Operation Advisory Circular (150 series) also requires them to take action on the runway with a poor or nil braking action report. The airport operator can only go out on the runway so often to take mu reports. This helps them keep up to date on the runway condition.
 

contrail67

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Don't call it poor or nil either as some operators can't land depending on their OpSpecs :)

Why not?!

So if it is poor or nil the guy behind you gets to run off the runway because you did not want to disrupt his operations? Trust me, when the guy is in the ditch, he will wish you would have called it that way.
 

lansen

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when you get a breaking report take note of the AC that gave it, Fair for a c172, a 1900, and a 767 can all mean different things. Do your best not to fully stop esp in deep snow it will be a PITA to get moving again.
 
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