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Frontier de-icing oops in Nashville

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Frontier de-icing oops in Nashville

Old 4th Mar 2021, 15:12
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Frontier de-icing oops in Nashville

A Frontier passenger airplane nearly took off in Nashville with an ice-covered wing during last month's snow/ice storm, the airline confirmed to the Tennessean.

The plane had gone through de-icing from Trego-Dugan Aviation, but a flight attendant afterward noticed what appeared to be ice and snow mixed with de-icing fluid on one of the plane's wings, according to a tweet from an aviation watchdog Tuesday that exposed the near tragedy.

The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating the incident, an agency spokeswoman confirmed Thursday morning in an email to the Tennessean.

Experts say ice on a plane can stop the plane's lift and can create other barriers to safe flying.

In an email to the Tennessean, Frontier confirmed "this incident did occur."

But Frontier would not say what date or time it happened or where the plane was going.

"Safety is our foremost priority and we are very proud of our flight crew for identifying the issue and ensuring the matter was addressed before takeoff," the statement said.

"We are no longer using the deicing company in question."

The de-icing company, the nationwide outfit Trego/Dugan Aviation, said in a statement to the Tennessean that "there was a breakdown in the detailed and vigorous de-icing process in Nashville."

"An aircraft that had remained overnight during the storm was not fully de-iced," the statement said. "TDA applauds the efforts of the Frontier flight crew for detecting the issue before initiating flight."

Frontier would not identify that flight attendant nor make him or her available for an interview.

A Nashville Airport Authority spokeswoman would not say how many airlines use Trego/Dugan Aviation for de-icing. The spokeswoman, Kym Gerlock, referred all questions about the incident to Frontier airlines, adding the authority only "provides the infrastructure for flying at Nashville International Airport."

Trego/Dugan said there were "rigorous re-training" sessions with all operators who de-ice planes at all of its stations.

"Nothing of this sort has happened in the past 50+ years and we have vigorously attacked the underlying circumstances to prevent anything like this in the future," the company said in its statement.
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Old 4th Mar 2021, 15:33
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Sprayed Type IV without first removing the ice and snow with Type I?
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Old 4th Mar 2021, 19:16
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I suspect that the deicing crews in Nashville get less practise than those in many other locations.
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Old 4th Mar 2021, 20:28
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Probably the case, just not the reason...
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Old 4th Mar 2021, 20:51
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Or the reason, but not an excuse ...
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Old 4th Mar 2021, 23:05
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Isn’t there a requirement for a pilot or mechanic to visually inspect and confirm ice-free surfaces prior to taxi, or at least prior to take-off? Asking for my late colleagues killed on take-off in 1989 in an iced up F-28.
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Old 5th Mar 2021, 08:02
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This is typically done by the deicing crew in the US. There are exceptions though.
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Old 5th Mar 2021, 09:18
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2-step de-icing with the first step missed. Looks like they sprayed Type 4 straight onto a contaminated wing.
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Old 5th Mar 2021, 09:22
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Yeah, looks like Type V straight on contamination. This is a mistake. This can happen. What is unforgivable is that it wasn't flagged in the post application check.

And great job for the Flight Attendant for a) spotting it, and b) speaking up about it.
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Old 5th Mar 2021, 09:43
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Yes but says little for the flight crew.

After deice and after inspecting the deicing certificate one pilot, and in my case it was always me, should ALWAYS check that the wing, stab and fin are completely clear of contamination. Each time , every time without exception.
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Old 5th Mar 2021, 10:42
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That's just not practical in many cases. If you de-ice while taxiing out, for instance.
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Old 5th Mar 2021, 11:15
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Icing has always been a risk of all times and all types of aircraft. It is a systemic issue that just like gravity demands awareness and attention.

If I take a database with 2200 cases dating from 1956 to 2021, there are at least 98 cases of all aircraft types where icing alone (not including snow/precipitation contamination cases) was a factor, in at least 42 cases icing was causal, in 35 cases there were fatalities, in 32 cases the aircraft was written off or destroyed, the number of killed/serious/light/uninjured 1800+/200+/100+/1600+ of 3700+ PoB,

My impression is that icing got more recognition in the 1940s... icing is mentioned in many cases during WW2... One early very good report (you could use it today and most would not recognize it as being written that long ago) dates from about the 1950s if I recall correctly, but I would have to check that. Report included a very good sketch of horn-type icing on wings and horizontal stabilizer by the incident's pilot.

The US system got a warning in for example 1982 with the Air Florida 737. The 1989 case pointed out a systemic failure of the Canadian aerospace system (crew, airline, regulations, knowledge,...) and not a specific aircraft,
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Old 5th Mar 2021, 12:26
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Excellent contribution from the flight attendant! and this is an area where in my opinion things have definitely improved with people speaking out. I am a little intrigued by what RetiredBA/BY means. The concept that someone needs to confirm that the aircraft is clean is obvious. But does he mean the pilot personally? Most of the times I have deiced it was with engines running and I am unclear how you could personally check the fin and in most cases the stab. Going back to look at the wings in inclement conditions I have done regularly. But our manuals always made clear that we were delegating the inspection in most circumstances to the lead deicer. The deicing report is also verbal and then entered on the tech log. In this case there seems to have been a clear failure by the deicing crew.
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Old 5th Mar 2021, 13:25
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Only in certain circumstances will the crew be required to visually check the wings. This situation is clearly an exception to that. How’d you go about checking the empennage?
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Old 5th Mar 2021, 13:59
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How do you check the stab and the fin after remote de-icing with engines running?
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Old 5th Mar 2021, 14:08
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Unless you're willing to put own age in the profile and it is within radio range from 76, perhaps a smaller calibre is more gentlemanly for the first round, gents. It may well be that during R.BA/BY active career such was the best practice and SOP, or self-preservation instinct alone. The industry develops...

IIRC there are some types where a tactile check is required before departure after deicing.

For the record, I have never seen a requirement to physically leave the cockpit and go see the result post-spraying. Wrong, bad? No idea but also only 2 types on the logbooks.

n.b. The empennage pretty much flies on the angle of incidence or it could if needed. Dirty wing under EO not so much.
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Old 5th Mar 2021, 14:37
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Was it really noticed by the F/A? Or did a passenger draw attention to it from whereon the F/A informed the cockpit? I know that if I'd looked out the window to see that I would not have remained silent! Nevertheless, good that the F/A followed up.
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Old 5th Mar 2021, 15:04
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Somebody (the airline?) getting their CRM right. The F/A felt able to tell the flight crew and, more importantly, the flight crew listened.
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Old 5th Mar 2021, 16:07
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To be fair, Retired BA/BY led with the 105mm howitzer rather than the mini gun when he said this: "Yes but says little for the flight crew.".
There is a wealth of experience on this forum and when shared, we can learn through the benifits of others experience, without going through the pain ourselves.
BUT, aviation changes ( and I appreciate not always for the better) so I think it can be useful for those now detached from the industry to research current practice before pointing the 105 at their feet.
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Old 5th Mar 2021, 16:11
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This was a Gift

Clearly this deicing failure should not have happened. But the discovery by the cabin crew, their ability to notify the flight crew and the consequent decisions saved us from a terrible outcome.

It also resulted in retraining of the deicing company employees, probably company-wide. There were clear deficiencies of knowledge and judgment that are being addressed and probably removed in some cases.

I would expect that every deicing vendor will take advantage of this event by giving extra emphasis on how to do the job right. This is embarrassing, yes, but it is a gift.

Likewise, I can imagine that cabin and flight crews of many operators have taken note of this event and it has reinforced training they received in the past.

May we give thanks to Providence that are not mourning for the loss of passengers and crew. Thank Him also that a gradual degradation of safety has at least for the moment been turned around.

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