FAA Considering More Action On Caravans

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The FAA says it may take further action spurred by growing concerns about the performance of Cessna Caravans in ice. FAA spokesman Les Doerr told AVweb the icing behavior of the 208-series aircraft is a "continuing concern to us" and he said it's possible the agency will take further action. He also said the agency hasn't reviewed the latest safety recommendations issued on the topic and there is no timeline for further action. On Feb. 22, the agency will adopt an AD that will require installation of a grab handle on the wing to make it easier for pilots to run their hand over the top surface to check for ice. The so-called "tactile check" was mandated by an earlier AD issued last March. The latest AD also calls for installation of de-icing boots on the belly pod and landing gear fairings of aircraft that will be used in icing conditions. However, the National Transportation Safety Board and, most recently, Canada's Transportation Safety Board, are urging strict limitations for Caravans heading into ice. The Canadian board issued its recommendations on Tuesday and they pretty much mirror suggestions issued by the NTSB two weeks ago. In its recommendations, the NTSB said Caravans should only be allowed to fly in "light" forecasted icing conditions, that the airspeed should be kept at 120 knots or higher if ice is encountered and that the autopilot be shut off. Canada took the recommendations a step further and said that pilots encountering ice in a Caravan should get out of those conditions if they can't maintain 120 knots.