With winter and cold weather already here in Northern latitudes, its time to once again become concerned about icing. Hence, a post by John Fiscus on the Cirrus Owners & Pilots Association’s (COPA) blog is well worth reading. John mentions that a link has been posted in the in the Cirrus Flying forum containing one of the best summaries or case studies of an accident involving icing that he has seen (COPA members can view the summary here while non-COPA members can log in as a guest and view it here). The summary also contains a particularly spooky last audio transmission from the pilot who lost his life in the accident and John noted that:
Basically, the pilot (seemingly calmly) tells the controller that he’s icing up and going down. The thing that caught my attention was that he held his push-to-talk switch down for quite a while after he stopped talking, a sign that he was mentally locking up. I see that a lot in training when a pilot is overloaded. Anyway, during those last few seconds after he’s done talking but still transmitting you can hear the incredible speed of the airplane coming through his mic. They estimate he was coming down at over 5,000 feet per minute and his speed was well over the red line of 201 knots.
However, John concludes by saying that icing is completely avoidable. After all, we can all simply make the decision NOT to fly in potentially icy conditions. And if you are still not sure whether its safe to fly, listening to that last audio transmission will definitely help you in making a safe decision.