The Federal Aviation Administration announced new rules Thursday to help pilots curb the risk from freezing rain and freezing drizzle.
The 18 new directives affecting 29 relatively low-technology aircraft models instruct pilots on how to recognize and safely escape from hazardous icing conditions. The 4,430 aircraft subject to the new rules are already safe but will be even safer now, FAA chief David Hinson said."These new regulations are designed to further enhance safety for the flying public as we strive for a zero accident rate," Hinson said in a statement Thursday.
The "airworthiness directives" apply to craft with unpowered controls and devices known as pneumatic de-icing boots. With unpowered controls, the pilot manually adjusts the moving surface on the wing's trailing edge rather than relying on hydraulic or electrical power. Pneumatic de-icing boots inflate along the wing's leading edge to crack any ice.
Under the new procedures, pilots of the 29 affected models, when flying in icing conditions, are required to check for abnormal ice buildup on the wing's upper and lower surfaces and other spots. If spotted, the pilot must fly out of the area where the freeze is taking place by changing altitude or course. The directives spell out procedures for notifying air traffic controllers of such changes.
The FAA said it began a comprehensive review of aircraft with unpowered controls and pneumatic de-icing boots after the the October 1994 crash of an American Eagle ATR-72 near Roselawn, Ind.