Corporate Crashes Spark Safety Focus…

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FAA Mandates "Tactile" Inspections On Challengers

What was a recommendation is now a rule. The FAA has issued an Airworthiness Directive requiring operators (as a revision to the aircraft's flight manual) to give an extra touch of care when flying in cold weather. Effective this week, operators of Bombardier Challenger 600-series aircraft (including regional jets and the newer 601 models) must run a hand over the leading edges and front top surfaces of wings during freezing temperatures (we don't know if you're allowed to wear a glove). The AD requires that the aircraft flight manuals be amended to include, as a takeoff limitation, the visual and tactile inspection for ice during cold-weather operations. Ice may have been a factor in the crash of a Challenger in November in Colorado and Transport Canada has discovered that even a small amount of ice on the wings can seriously affect performance. The FAA issued the AD after Transport Canada issued one earlier this month. Because of what it says is the urgent nature of the AD, it will become effective on Feb. 22 without the usual comment period. Also, operators have only five days to get the temporary revision added to the flight manuals. That's so implementation of the rule roughly coincides with Canada's implementation.