Posted: Jan 11, 2013 6:54 PM by Pat Shingleton
Years ago, plane de-icing was randomly performed and is now a regimented, regulated procedure. On this date in 1982, Air Florida Flight 90 crashed into the icy Potomac River, thirty seconds after takeoff from National Airport in Arlington, Virginia. The casualty count noted 78 deaths, including four who were in cars on the 14th Street Bridge. Weatherwise magazine noted that the National Transportation Safety Board determined the cause of the crash was the failure of pilots to abort the takeoff and for not activating anti-icing equipment. As noted in a previous column, ice on wings is dangerous because of additional weight and the loss of lift for the aircraft, causing drag on the aircraft's body. A wing can lose 30% of lift with a small accumulation of ice.