The Need for Operationally Based In-flight Icing Training for Aviators 2003-01-2140
A review of existing pilot training in the area of in-flight icing reveals many inadequacies. Much of the icing “knowledge” in the pilot community is partial, false, or of no use in making tactical decisions in flight. Complete and accurate information about the limitations of ice protection systems on individual aircraft is not sufficiently communicated to the piloting community. Regulatory guidance on what in-flight icing conditions are prohibited is sufficiently vague so as to allow intentional operations in hazardous conditions. In the absence of accurate icing information pilots often rely on their perspective of past icing encounters which may not be accurate. Wrongly interpreted experiences can reinforce false assumptions about icing.
Truly effective in-flight icing training must be operationally oriented and help the student to assess immediate hazards and select between tactical options. Any training must include the limitations of ice protection systems and what conditions the manufacturer considered in their design. It must also be designed with specific aircraft models and operations in mind and should be a part of training throughout a pilot's flying career. Gaining the maximum benefit from in-flight icing training requires an environment where an open and honest exchange of information between manufacturers, regulatory authorities and the pilot community occurs.