FAA issues ice protection rule

Washington – Airlines must install ice-detection equipment on small planes or update flight manuals so crews know when to activate ice-protection systems, under a final rule (.pdf file) issued Aug. 19 by the Federal Aviation Administration.

For planes with an ice-detection system, the rule requires that the system alert the crew every time ice protection is necessary. The protection system can be automatic or turned on manually by the pilot.

On planes without ice-detection equipment, the crew must activate ice protection based on cues from the flight manual during climb and descent, as well as the first sign of icing when at cruising altitude.

The rule applies only to aircraft weighing less than 60,000 pounds, as they are more affected by undetected icing or late activation of the protection system. Large commercial airlines already have ice-detection equipment.

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