Air Federal agencies

FAA issues final rule on aircraft icing standards

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Washington – Manufacturers of new transport airplanes must show proof that the aircraft can safely fly in freezing drizzle or freezing rain, under a final rule issued Nov. 4 by the Federal Aviation Administration.

Aircraft with a maximum takeoff weight of less than 60,000 pounds or that have reversible flight controls must abide by the new safety standards, which address performance and handling. The rule specifically addresses the icing environment known as “supercooled large drops,” in which aircraft encounter ice crystals while flying near thunderstorms. The crystals can clog external air data sensors or result in ice buildup in an engine.

In a Nov. 3 press release, the Air Line Pilots Association, International, expressed its support for the rule but called for more action.

“While the new FAA rule is a major step forward, ALPA continues its call for increased funding to research icing, better methods to help flight crews identify the type of icing environment in which they are operating, and technical systems that would automatically detect hazardous ice and alert the flight crews,” the organization stated.

The rule is based on recommendations from FAA’s Aviation Rulemaking Advisory Committee and the National Transportation Safety Board.