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The Deadly Crash That Changed Airline De-Icing Standards

40th anniversary of the deadly Air Florida flight #90 icing crash is recalled and it’s influence on modern weather airline deice and anti-ice winter operations. ( More...

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Unfortunately no amount of de-icing/anti-icing is going to save an aircraft from a crew inexperienced in cold weather ops, failure to follow checklist procedures, unable to perform the simplest of duties…such as a crosscheck of engine instruments after thrust is set, inability to realize the aircraft is not accelerating as it should for a full power takeoff and finally upon rotation and then stick shaker activation (at least to most pilots) would push the thrust levers as far forward as possible! Had they done the last, they might have made it back to sunny, warm Florida. We used type 1,2 & 4 de icing fluids long before those fair weather pilots came along.
sharon bias 5
I was in SLC early one Sunday morning. First flight of the day for this plane. Pushed back from the gate and the pilot announced, "we're going to do a quick de-icing drive through before we depart". It did take about 15 minutes, but I was still comforted the pilot decided to do this. SLC is used to snowy weather, and they have great facilities since they hosted the Olympics. I always say, better late than dead.
this particular air florida flight was flown by incomptetent cold weather pilots who completely fumbled the pre-take off tasks and the take-off roll also.
Among the fumbled pre-flight tasks: flight crew did not turn on engine anti-ice, which caused instruments to show higher thrust than the engines we’re actually producing.
sparkie624 1
Interesting article... But if you notice, they were not doing it correct. You never spray fluid from the back of the wing to the front of the wing.. Any water that is there, is pushed up under the leading edge device and can freeze... Other than that, great article... Side note.. the Reporter said it looked like fun... UGH... from someone who has done it before... It is NOT FUN in any way shape or form!
Apparently among their many screwups, during taxi the Air Florida crew, rather than going back for proper deicing and anti-icing, instead very closely followed the DC9 in front of them, so the DC9’s hot engine exhaust would melt the snow on their 737’s wings. Apparently this worked, but some of the resulting meltwater and slush trickled down to and refroze on the leading edges of the wings and engine inlets.
ADXbear 1
We covered this crash in our dispatch licensing course. Dispatchers must be very accurate with weather info at time of pushbacks.. crews today are very much aware of the need to have clean wings and ground crews to physically check the wings after deicing and before heading to runway..
Larry Toler 1
We actually covered this scenario in one of my recurrent classes between F/A's and pilots. Even though my duties are focused in the cabin, I also followed what's going on with my pilots in the flight deck. Once again, that also goes back to my training in the USAF with situation awareness. It also helps me to give my pax a straight answer of why we are delayed or out right canceled.
Larry Toler 1
Back to the point, an extra set of eyes during preflight can help as well as good Crew Resource Management.
That said, I flew for a regional on ERJ's and it was just me, two pilots, and up to 50 pax depending on which EMB145 we were flying and segment length.


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