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IFR Icing / Cloud tops

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IFR Icing / Cloud tops

Old 4th Jan 2014, 18:07
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Join Date: Feb 2012
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IFR Icing / Cloud tops

Hi quick question

How can we determine cloud tops and icing for IFR flights between FL050 and FL150 in Europe?

For example tomorrow I would fly from EBAW to LFPN but I'm really stuck with the decision because of icing or not. Depends if the cloud tops are above or below FL100...

I am flying an SR22 with TKS de icing which is not FIKI. It works but is not FIKI.

Can anyone help me? I need to know whether it's clear air above FL60 or not.

Kind regards
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Old 4th Jan 2014, 18:17
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This is the best reference I know.

Cloud Tops

Near the bottom is a reference to the GRAMET website, which on the occasions I have used it, is the most accurate and visually simple to interpret cloud tops forecast.
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Old 4th Jan 2014, 18:31
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Thank you I already read that page a few months ago.
However most of the information sources mentioned are outdated and the websites are down or changed and I can't find the information I need.

And how do I know if the clouds are scattered/ layered or if it is just a complete soup. I find it really hard everytime to determine how it will look once up there.
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Old 4th Jan 2014, 18:56
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The only person I've seen posting on here who does long IFR flights while trying to avoid known icing was Peterh337 (probably previously IO540).

Haven't seen him around here for a while, but this was his site which has some useful planning links

Aviation

(not saying others don't post about it, just that this is the one which sprang to mind)
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Old 4th Jan 2014, 20:45
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Yes, that site is Peter's. At the top of this page, Aviation, there is a link to another site with various information and discussions on cloud tops etc... I only have an IMCr and don't do much in the way of high altitude IFR 'touring' myself, but the GRAMET site specifically seems the easiest to use. The images display to a point if it overcast or broken, but I don't think anything really is going to be 100%.

I think it's a case of just making sure you are between layers, particularly if you don't have FIKI, or having the capability to out climb any weather or know where frontal weather may occur.
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Old 4th Jan 2014, 20:56
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I am flying an SR22 with TKS de icing which is not FIKI. It works but is not FIKI.
You do not want to hang around in icing whether the aircraft is FIKI or not!
Make sure the surface temperatures are such that if you do get ice you can go down and loose it above the MSA.
You will be flying at most times at levels where you will find ice so respect that.
Do not rely on getting on top as it does not always work that way

Pace
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Old 4th Jan 2014, 22:44
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Join Date: Apr 2011
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This is how i do

Go to ippc.no create a briefing for my route.
Check the surface wheather looking for cloudbase
Check SWC chart for icing
Ofcourse you need to look up the freezinglevel but as i am operating in Sweden that is usually below surface (this winter is an exception though).
IF i have deicing (fiki or not, My experience with non fiki tks system is very good) as long as the base is high enough and the tops low enough i dont worry too much since i know i have a way out...
If the above criteria is not met i go to wheatheronline.co.uk expert charts and try to figure out if there are layers i can navigate so to stay clear of ice.
Even though i have FIKI (pa46 Mirage) i dont want to be stuck in icing, always find a layer or go on top!
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Old 5th Jan 2014, 07:51
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Entrada de Ogimet and them gramet aero seems to be very accurate and you can also choose a route
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Old 5th Jan 2014, 09:25
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I use three sources for information on icing:

Gramet, which has already been mentioned and which I agree is very good

Jeppesen: JetPlan.com Graphic Weather

This can take a while to load but allows you to look at 12, 18 & 24 hour forecasts at different levels

RocketRoute: if you subscribe, you can get a route icing forecast as part of your briefing pack. It tends to be much the most pessimistic of the three.

If it looks as though icing may be a risk, I always plan on the basis that it will happen and ensure I have an alternative altitude or other escape route that I know will work. Flying a similar TKS non-FIKI SR22 in the UK and non-mountainous bits of Western Europe, I can only remember losing one flight in the last year.

BTW, if you aren't already aware of this, with the SR22 TKS system it's important that you run it regularly to ensure that the panels wet out properly. It's also a good idea to take a piece of cloth wetted with TKS fluid and wipe the panels on the wings and elevators with it before flight.

I hope this helps
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Old 5th Jan 2014, 10:55
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If
the above criteria is not met i go to wheatheronline.co.uk expert charts and try to figure out if there are layers i can navigate so to stay clear of ice.
Even though i have FIKI (pa46 Mirage) i dont want to be stuck in icing, always find a layer or go on top!
Mic SVE

You have a capable pressurised high altitude single A very good ferry pilot friend was killed ferrying a 172 and was also relying on getting on top or between layers and iced up.

So do not rely on anthing!

Pace
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Old 7th Jan 2014, 03:30
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Join Date: Nov 2011
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Originally Posted by PrivatePilotDA40NG View Post
Hi quick question

How can we determine cloud tops and icing for IFR flights between FL050 and FL150 in Europe?

For example tomorrow I would fly from EBAW to LFPN but I'm really stuck with the decision because of icing or not. Depends if the cloud tops are above or below FL100...

I am flying an SR22 with TKS de icing which is not FIKI. It works but is not FIKI.

Can anyone help me? I need to know whether it's clear air above FL60 or not.

Kind regards
Perhaps look at the Skew-T log-P for points along your intended route of flight? It will show you forecasted temp/DP convergence at altitude. Emphasis on the word forecasted.
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Old 9th Jan 2014, 09:50
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TWR
 
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Since a large part of your flight will be in the Brussels FIR, you can login to the Belgocontrol website and read the meteo-bulletin. You'll find the forecasted cloud bases and tops, as wel as freezing level and additional risk factors.

In my opinion these forecasts are pretty good.
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Old 9th Jan 2014, 11:18
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Cloud Tops And Icing

A good low cost solution if skew-t logs, ruc soundings etc sound a little daunting.
If you have a small budget available, I would strongly suggest subscribing to rocket route.
The level of information they now supply with their briefing packs is first class and rivals what you might expect to receive from a professional flight planning organization.
If you have an Ipad, then for a small subscription, you can gain access to AeroPlus Weather which is a fantastic resource and uses the temp/lapse rates etc to draw a profile showing clouds/tops/layers etc and also shows sat radars, sigwx charts etc.
A combination of those two really will give you pretty much everything you could realistically need.
Dont be put off by paying a few quid for a better level of information as when you weigh up the cost against making an uninformed decision, it doesnt bear thinking about.
Icing very likely brings down more aircraft than any other single factor and those words come from Nasa so dont take my word for it.
Also worth bearing in mind that its a really good point to check your de-icing/anti-icing equipment whilst your still in clear air or even better, still on the ground.
They can also fail in flight, and its essential to recognise when something goes wrong without too much delay.
Here one I made earlier en route to China.
Fortunately I was over the UK at the point of failure.
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Old 9th Jan 2014, 12:45
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I would agree with Debiassi and Rocket route is a fantastic flight planning programme especially IFR.

One word of caution using any predictive icing forecast is that icing is very hard to predict so only use these predictions as a guide.

I have taken off in a jet with predicted icing climbed up through 20 k of solid cloud and picked up nothing.

Other times I have picked up quite a lot of ice in the most unsuspecting conditions so beware.

Use everything to hand to get a broad picture but most of all use experience and good airmanship in avoiding and dealing with the stuff.

if your flying a non ice capable single be extra cautious and aware that you can come down and loose the ice above MSA if you are stuck with the stuff to ground level do not go!

Pace
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Old 9th Jan 2014, 16:30
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The Effects Of Icing

And for those who do not have a healthy respect for airframe icing, listen to the following recording from my site videos.
A number of safety institutions now use this recording as part of their training.
This was not a low time pilot either but a very experienced ferry pilot who I believe is also no longer with us although she survived this encounter.
I can only imagine that she wasnt thinking straight due to the close shave she had experienced but some of her subsequent decision making left much to be desired.
http://
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Old 9th Jan 2014, 18:15
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When I try to play it I get a message saying "This video is currently unavailable"
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Old 9th Jan 2014, 18:40
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Played OK for me, the sound of sheer out of control terror !!
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Old 9th Jan 2014, 21:09
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Debiassi

Great RT! It was lucky the controller sussed the problem of icing, checked with other aircraft the icing levels ahead and recommended she descended to 3000 feet or the same problem would have occurred further on as she rigidly stuck to 6500 feet

The pilot seemed unaware of icing!!! plucky lady regardless. I think she would have been better landing at the nearby airport having a hot cup of tea and composing herself before pressing on!

Also stresses the point in a non ice capable aircraft of making sure you can descend to warmer air above MSA or in her case she would have gone all the way down

Pace

Last edited by Pace; 9th Jan 2014 at 21:21.
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Old 10th Jan 2014, 07:07
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How fast it can happen

The video below seems to always echo in the back of my head when passing thru icing these days.

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Old 10th Jan 2014, 09:37
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Thanks to all of you for your comments.
I already have a rocket route account and because of the 100% chance of icing in Paris that night, I did not go.
I take icing very serious as I have little experience with it and it seems like the worst thing to happen
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