AIR Flight Training focuses on detailed, scenario-based Piper PA-46 training for Malibu, Mirage, Matrix, and Meridian pilots. We arm pilots with the knowledge and experience to react in any situation.
Winter is upon us, which means so are freezing temperatures, snow, and ice. As we know, this season brings increased precautions for pilots in areas including: deicing, anti-icing, cold weather maintenance, and flight operations. While the increased precautions can be tedious and annoying, it’s crucial to be aware of the necessary steps to uphold regulation and safety. For example, not properly checking the fuel tanks for water contamination could lead to an engine failure in-flight, if the water freezes and blocks fuel flow.
In Boeing’s Safe Winter Operations article, the Clean-Airplane concept is explained, which is useful for remembering the regulatory nature of winter operations. FAR 121.629 states, “No person may take off an aircraft when frost, ice or snow is adhering to the wings, control surfaces, propellers, engine inlets, or other critical surfaces of the aircraft or when the takeoff would not be in compliance with paragraph (c) of this section.” Accordingly, the Clean-Airplane concept describes an aircraft that is free of frost, ice, or snow. We learned in primary training that such contaminants adhered to an airplane, especially the wings and control surfaces, reduces lift, increases drag, increases stall speed, and creates a much heavier airplane. Thus, it is important to remember and conform to this concept. Per the PA-46-500TP Meridian PO, takeoff is prohibited with the following forms of contamination:
With frost adhering to the following areas:
- Wing leading edge
- Wing upper surface
With ice, snow or slush adhering to the following areas:
- Wing leading edge and upper wing surface
- Flight control surfaces
- Top of fuselage
- All static ports
- Upper surface of engine cowling forward of windshield
Further, according to the PA-46-500TP Meridian POH, “The Meridian ice protection system was designed and tested for operation in light to moderate meteorological conditions defined in FAR 25, Appendix C, for continuous maximum and intermittent maximum icing conditions. The ice protection system was not designed or tested for flight in freezing rain, freezing drizzled or supercooled liquid water and ice crystals, or conditions defined as severe. Flight in these conditions is prohibited and must be avoided.” As such, thorough preflight planning becomes vital with respect to known icing conditions; PIREPS are a fantastic source of icing information in your area. Recall that icing is most likely to occur when the OAT is 10 degrees Celsius and below and visual moisture (in the form of clouds, fog, rain, etc) exists.
If you make the decision to fly into known icing conditions within the parameters of the POH, be sure to continuously evaluate the icing situation. If you encounter conditions beyond your capabilities or the legal capabilities of the aircraft, always have a plan to exit the conditions. For the most thorough information, consult your aircraft’s POH or the manufacturer.
Extra notes concerning the PA-46-500TP Meridian:
Sources: Boeing, AOPA, AvStop.com