NTSB Chairman Deborah Hersman, in testimony Feb. 24 before the House Aviation Subcommittee, Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, discussed the dangers of aircraft flying in icing conditions and highlighted longstanding NTSB recommendations that have yet to be adopted by the FAA to address the issue.
Reducing the dangers of flying in icing conditions has been on the NTSB’s Most Wanted List of Transportation Safety Improvements since 1997. Last week, the NTSB voted to keep the issue, along with its four open recommendations to the FAA, on the 2010 Most Wanted List with a “red” classification. The red classification indicates an unacceptable response by the FAA.
“Although the NTSB relies on others to implement these recommendations, we have worked to educate the pilot community about some of the hazards associated with icing conditions through our Safety Alerts,” Hersman said.
In 1981, the NTSB published a report titled “Aircraft Icing Avoidance and Protection” and recommended the FAA review icing certification criteria. The study followed a series of icing-related accidents and the varying consequences that ice accretion had on different types of aircraft raised concern,
In the 1990s the NTSB re-examined the issue of airframe structural icing and concluded that the icing certification process continues to be inadequate. The board also became concerned about airplanes that fly in supercooled large droplet conditions and that used pneumatic boots to deice the aircraft in flight. In the last decade, the NTSB has investigated more than 50 accidents involving aircraft icing, resulting in more than 200 fatalities, officials said.
In the last few years, the FAA has addressed some of the recommendations related to icing by issuing a number of final and proposed regulations. However, not all of the NTSB’s recommendations on icing have been addressed, officials note.
The full text of Hersman’s testimony is available here.