FAA Proposes More Icing Regulations For Part 121

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The FAA, prompted initially by a safety review initiated by a 1994 fatal crash, last Monday proposed rules that may require installation of enhanced ice-protection systems on aircraft and changes to procedures for crews operating under part 121. The FAA described its motives this way: "Neither the current operating regulations nor the certification regulations" in place "ensure timely activation of ice protection systems." The new rules are intended to stop accidents the agency has reviewed where it was determined that "the flightcrew were either completely unaware of ice accretion on the airframe, or were aware of ice accretion." Toward that end, the proposed rule would create a standard to ensure that ice protection on part 121 aircraft are activated in a timely manner. Mainly, this rule will be fulfilled through equipment, and the adjustment of specific airplane flight manuals, operating manuals and training programs.

The full text of the FAA's proposed rule is available online. The rule would somewhat overlap existing requirements in certain airworthiness directives, but would be more detailed and specific to the operation of individual aircraft. Comments are requested before February 22, 2010.