Friday, June 6, 2014

Airframe icing and 600 lbs of excess weight led to C208B Caravan crash

Caravan C-GAGP operated by Gogal Air Services

On 18 November 2012 the Caravan pictured above crashed after loss of control due to an accumulation of Rime Ice on its wing surfaces. Accidents like this should serve as a reminder to us pilots that we need to be extra vigilant while operating in icing conditions. 

The Grand Caravan, operated by Gogal Air Services, was headed to Winnipeg when it crashed into a wooded area soon after take off. The crash killed the pilot and seriously injured the seven passengers on board. The 600lbs of excess weight and airframe ice increased the aircraft's stall speed and reduced its take off and climb performance.

According to the Canadian Transportation Safety Board:

"Although the pilot made an attempt to remove the ice before [the final] flight, a significant amount of it remained on the aircraft. No de-icing or anti-icing fluids were applied to the wing or horizontal stabilizer and no tactile inspection of the upper wing or tail surfaces was observed. The ice on the leading edges of aircraft's wings and tail would have reduced available lift, added extra weight, increased aerodynamic drag and thereby reduced its take-off and climb performance, increased its stall speed and impaired the protection afforded by its stall warning system, which is activated at a pre-set angle of attack based on a clean wing."

Caravan C-GAGP

After reading this, I encourage my readers to review the AFM or POH for the specific aircraft that they fly (difference between AFM and POH), specifically the sections pertaining to Icing and the Emergency Procedures - Icing. As far as the Caravan, you can also find this information in the Pilots' Abbreviated Checklist. But remember that the AFM or POH takes precedence over the PAC.


If you are a Caravan pilot, I also highly recommend that you complete some of Cessna's E-Learning courses on this topic. Courses such as "Caravan Cold Weather Ops" and "Caravan Vodcast Ground Icing Conditions". There are many other interesting courses available, most of which are free and are all available at cessnaelearning.com.

My fellow pilots, please remember to Review Often and Fly Safe so that you can continue to Have Fun!