I  C  E
What you don't know can kill you!

    Ice, a thousand and one uses!  It can cool your soda's and beer, make a sprained ankle feel better, help you slide off the end of a runway on landing, or prevent you from flying at the end of your takeoff roll.  We all know about clear ice and rime ice.  What is sometimes neglected as far as aircraft are concerned is frost!  Frost can catch you unprepared on a clear day.
    You know those days when you wake up and the sky clear, it has not rained, but your lawn is wet in the morning?  Dew on the ground!  This is because there were not enough condensation nuclei in the air to form fog, so as the decreasing temperature reached the dew point, water condensed on the ground.  How about when the temperature is below freezing?  Frost forms instead of dew drops.  Frost can easily form on an airplane.  See the photographs below.

    This amount of frost can make it difficult to impossible to become airborne!  With frost on the flying surfaces of an aircraft, your performance charts may be meaningless.  Your takeoff and climb performance can be degraded substantially, possibly to ZERO!  Aircraft anti and de-ice systems protect the areas of the aircraft that tend to ice up In Flight, not when sitting on the ground.  The upper surfaces of the wings and elevator are not protected by the aircraft's anti ice systems.  It is sometimes necessary to de-ice your aircraft prior to flight!  You can put your airplane in a heated hangar and let the ice melt, remove it with a broom or squeegee, or have it de-iced with hot fluid sprayed on the appropriate parts of the airplane.

The De-Icing Truck

Wings, Flaps Slats & Ailerons

Stab & Elevator

    How would you like to clear the obstacles ahead with an airplane that won't perform as well as the charts tell you, when you have barely enough performance in the first place.  Those beautiful mountains can get ugly in a big hurry.  Stack the deck in your favor, if in doubt, de-ice!

Departure from Aspen

    Notice that in these photo's, the sky is blue, and it looks like it is going to be a nice day.  In fact, on this flight out of Aspen Colorado, the first cloud I saw was 400 or 500 miles east of us on the way to Milwaukee!  We usually associate aircraft icing with clouds, but as you can see, this is not always the case.  Taking off with ice on the wings or tail of an airplane is stupid (stoo-pid).  There is a very fine line between a hero, who always gets the job done, whatever the obstacles, and a dumb ass, who gets talked about for years to come.  A little common sense can keep  you on the proper side of that line.