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Preflight check for ice A320

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Preflight check for ice A320

Old 25th Sep 2023, 04:59
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Preflight check for ice A320

Early morning daylight, OAT was -24C. During drive to stand-off parking, no ice on vehicles, baggage trolleys or aerobridges. Pre-flight walkaround check: no ice visible on fuselage, wings, tail or fight controls. Checked upper wing surfaces from pax widows. Considering the consequences of ice, rather than the chance of ice, I also opened a back door and leaned out a little to cheek the rear stabiliser upper surfaces one, side of the fin and control surfaces. No ice.
Seemed most unlikely that a check from the other back doorway was necessary, but did it anyway. Significant amount of clear ice made de-icing essential.
There has to be a lesson there.
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Old 25th Sep 2023, 10:13
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Originally Posted by autoflight
Early morning daylight, OAT was -24C. During drive to stand-off parking, no ice on vehicles, baggage trolleys or aerobridges. Pre-flight walkaround check: no ice visible on fuselage, wings, tail or fight controls. Checked upper wing surfaces from pax widows. Considering the consequences of ice, rather than the chance of ice, I also opened a back door and leaned out a little to cheek the rear stabiliser upper surfaces one, side of the fin and control surfaces. No ice.
Seemed most unlikely that a check from the other back doorway was necessary, but did it anyway. Significant amount of clear ice made de-icing essential.
There has to be a lesson there.
Hi,

Thanks for this input; in the northern hemisphere we will shortly enter the winter season and all chances to review some cold weather topics are always welcomed!

May I ask how long had the airplane been on the ground for and how much fuel was there remaining in the wing tanks? Chances are that the skin temperature was around the freezing point with some high levels of humidity and/or a relatively high amount of fuel was left in the wing tanks (tankering sector the night before?) and/or some freezing precipitation occurred during the night. All aspects that are very likely to lead to the formation of clear ice.
I remember we used to fly to a destination in Eastern Europe at night in winter time with tankering fuel; the airplane would stay on the ground for 6-8 hours or so and leave again early morning. The night was spent with temperatures similar to what You describe. Needless to say we had many occurrences of clear ice formation always spotted by the local (well acquainted) engineering teams prior to the crew arrival and which would have been impossibile to detect if not from a tactile check.
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Old 25th Sep 2023, 21:41
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If not sure, i ask for stairs to the wing so i can do a tactile check myself, but usually we have trained de-icing operators available to do it for us. Although there is a certain conflict of interest as they usually provide the deicing service as well.
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Old 26th Sep 2023, 17:00
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Thank you for the heads-up and timely warning about icing. It always surprised me that ice checks were done by looking out of the cabin windows. Surely the only sure way is to feel the wing surface?

And surprised too, that a set of steps were never present on each parking ramp to check the main wings with your hand. With all the supposed emphasis on de-icing for safety, one would have thought that a set of single-man steps would 'live' on each ramp, rather than having to request some and wait for them to be towed round from elsewhere on the ramp.

The fueller's steps were usually not quite high enough, but I could just about reach up on tip-toe from those, or stand on the side rails to check the upper surface of one wing.

PS, Have any other A320 pilots noticed dents in the tailplane leading edges, presumably from ice shedding from the main wing in flight?
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