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Operating in Heavy Snow/Ice conditions

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Well-known member
Jun 3, 2002
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.
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.

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

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