Pat Shingleton: "De-Icing and the Chinook..."
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. 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. In closing, a dry, warm, wind that descends from mountains is the "Chinook," also known as the "snow eater." Once it hits, temperatures rise as much as 60 degrees in one day. On this date in 1983, the temperature in Calgary rose 30 degrees in four hours. Mountain evergreens that display a reddish tinge and dried-out needles are known as red belt. This conditions is caused by dehydration from the warmth of the Chinook. As the warm winds slide over the mountains, trees experience the sudden temperature change, losing their winter preparedness and beginning to wake up. With frozen ground, the trees can't replace lost water; the needles dry out and die.
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