Weather often has an impact on flights. Delays are incredibly common in storms or fog. But winter also can cause a range of problems.
These issues may appear on the runway or while a plane is in the air. Keeping aircraft safe requires understanding the risks posed by winter weather.
Icing occurs when ice forms on the plane or parts of a plane. It can happen while the plane is on the ground or in the air. In-flight icing is incredibly dangerous. It impacts the overall operation of the plane and can throw off balance and weight. It can make it difficult to control the plane and also impact instrument readings.
Inside the mechanical components, icing can be detrimental to the air intake, fuel systems and overall engine operation. It can reduce engine power, and may lead to crashes. Getting off the ground is more difficult if the wings ice, and it causes trouble with drag. Not only is the plane at risk from icing, but it can also impact terminals, making boarding difficult and reducing the ability to move planes off the runway.
Combating icing is a group effort. When the situation is terribly bad, an airport may ground flights. The risks are too high to let planes try to take off or even land. Rerouting is a common solution. Moving planes to warm areas or avoiding cold sections of the flight plan can help to reduce the risks of icing and the related potential for accidents.
Ice for aircraft is just as worrisome as it is for vehicles on the road. Taking care of icing issues is imperative to avoid serious accidents.