Small Operators Get Ice Relief

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The FAA has amended its controversial rule requiring pre-takeoff ice inspections to allow Part 135/125 operators the same flexibility as larger carriers when there is threat of ground contamination by ice and snow. Last year, the FAA enacted a rule that required a visual or tactile inspection of wings and control surfaces within five minutes of takeoff in ground icing conditions. The rule has been amended to allow pilots of aircraft that have been de-iced by an air carrier or approved contractor to apply the same holdover times (the time allowed before the de-icing needs repeating) as larger air carriers. Under the old rule, the five-minute rule applied even if the aircraft was de-iced.

The amendment will reduce the requirement for a sometimes-onerous chore from flight crews, particularly those flying Cessna Caravans and other high-wing aircraft as the only way to fulfill the requirement was to unstrap, climb up and check the top of the wing. The FAA amendment was cheered by the Regional Air Cargo Carriers Association, which praised the agency's new manager of Part 135 operations Dennis Pratte for stickhandling the amendment. "His support and enthusiasm for the adoption of a an approved Part 135/125 Ground Deicing/Anti-icing program is greatly appreciated," RACCA said in a statement.