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Forest Service and Interior Department offer tips for ice landings

March 10, 2011, 11:49 pm

As the weather begins to warm up, frozen lakes and other bodies of water previously used for ice landings will begin to thaw and may no longer be able to support the weight of an aircraft. The U.S. Forest Service and Interior Department has provided some tips for pilots to help them determine whether or not an ice surface is safe for landing before attempting to touch down, which can be a potentially fatal error.

Though determining ice thickness from the view of an aircraft can be very difficult, there are certain indicators that the ice is not thick enough for a landing. These include "starfish, pressure ridges, frozen bubbles, cracks, overflow or dark spots," according to the group.

Pilots should also be aware of the air temperature for the days leading up to their potential landing, as well as at the time of the attempt. Even if the temperature is cold on that particular day, any rapid change in temperatures can make the ice brittle and unsafe for a period of 24 hours, according to the group.

Ice landings can be dangerous and may result in a potentially fatal accident. Pilot's should protect their families by obtaining pilot life insurance to financially support their loved ones in the event of their death. 

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