The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has instituted several safety programs to improve airline safety and prevent airplane crashes from occurring. Two such programs are Safety Alerts for Operators (SAFO) and Information for Operators (InFO), which involves sending messages containing critical safety information to pilots, including any unsafe conditions regarding performance and control issues caused by small amounts of contamination on aircraft aerodynamic and control surfaces. To consult with a top personal injury and wrongful death attorney in Chicago, call Passen & Powell at (312) 527-4500.
As winter approaches, safety hazards caused by frost, snow, slush and ice on airplane wings, as well as debris on runways become a real concern. Even small amounts of ice or frost on airplanes can adversely affect a pilot’s ability to control the plane and lead to fatal accidents.
Airflow over the wings and tail of an airplane helps create lift. Even a small amount of ice buildup on wing surfaces disrupts the airflow over the plane, reducing the lift force that keeps the plane in the air and making it difficult for the pilot to control the plane. The InFO release reinforces this issue, describing the loss of control as an “un-commanded roll and/or pitch movements from which the pilot could not recover.” Such loss of control is known to have caused catastrophic airline accidents.
Frost, snow, slush and ice can buildup on the wings of an airplane while the plane is on the ground, or while the plane is in the air. FAA regulations require airplanes to be de-iced while on the ground. The InFO release provides guidance on how to test for small amounts, or amounts that may remain after deicing. The releases suggests using visual and feel methods, and removing anything to looks or feels different from when the plane is dry, or wet from rain.
The release also suggests pilots become familiar with the look and feel of their aircraft when it is dry, and just wet from rain, so they have a baseline reference. Any debris or contaminant is to be removed immediately. It also states “aircraft operating procedures should clearly convey that any and all frost, snow, ice, and slush contamination, no matter how spotty or thin, must be completely removed prior to flight.”
Plane accidents, whether a commercial airline or a small single engine place, are catastrophic and can lead to life-long injuries or death. Such accidents involve many parties and complex legal issues, and a top personal injury lawyer can help you identify all appropriate responsible parties and legal causes of action. Whether ice or debris contributes to an airplane crash, or the crash was due to pilot error, it is important to consult an experienced aviation accident attorney. Call Passen & Powell at (312) 527-4500 for a free consultation with one of our attorneys.