SENIOR US OFFICIALS from the Regional Airline Association (RAA) are pressing the US Federal Aviation Administration to extend a new airworthiness directive (AD) on severe icing to all commercial aircraft, rather than singling out turboprops.

The RAA feels that the AD, which requires guidance for pilots on how to recognise severe icing and, if observed, to leave such conditions as fast as possible, is a training issue which should be applied across the board, regardless of aircraft type. It is concerned that the wrong message will be sent by singling out turboprops.

Some turboprop-aircraft manufacturers also feel that the AD unfairly brands their aircraft as particularly vulnerable in icing conditions. Bombardier, maker of the de Havilland Dash 8, is being supported by the Canadian Government in its efforts to get the FAA to recognise design features of the Dash 8 which are aimed at mitigating the effects of icing.

RAA vice-president of technical services William Keil says that he is not sure why the FAA has so far ignored the views of the RAA. "The rule should be there for all aircraft. We tried as hard as we knew how to say it was an observation issue and a training issue that could have been done without ADs," says Keil, who says that large jet-powered aircraft are just as vulnerable in severe icing conditions. "Any time anyone finds themselves in a situation beyond the aircraft limits, they should get out of it."

RAA president Walt Coleman says that his organisation will continue to press the FAA to extend the AD to all aircraft types. "We think that they identified good information and it should be shared with the whole industry," says Coleman.

The AD says that pilots of aircraft with leading-edge pneumatic de-icing boots and unpowered lateral controls should know how to recognise visual cues of severe icing conditions - in particular, build-up of ice on the aircraft's leading edges. The AD does not apply to normal icing conditions.

Source: Flight International