FAA issues Challenger ice directive

The FAA has directed operators of Canadair Challenger 600-series business jets to inspect their planes’ wings carefully for ice and frost before takeoff. The directive came in the wake of two recent accidents involving Challengers, where wing ice was a possible cause.

The FAA’s action was “prompted by a report that even small amounts of frost, ice, snow or slush on the wing leading edges or forward upper wing surfaces can cause an adverse change,” which can lead to a stall, according to the Airworthiness Directive issued to Bombardier Inc., which owns Canadair. The AD follows a similar move on Feb. 8 by Canada’s transportation agency.

Challenger flight manuals must be changed to require the pilot or copilot to run hands along the wings’ leading edges to check for frost, ice or snow. Previously, the manuals required only a visual inspection.

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