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Thread: Sierra's performance in light icing conditions

  1. #1

    Sierra's performance in light icing conditions

    In my opinion, the Sierra does not have the excess power to handle much
    icing, though I have heard from owners who say that they picked up ďa lotĒ
    and survived it. I have been in icing temporarily (and inadvertently)
    during flights in both the USA and Canada (in my C24R). I think that the
    longest episode was maybe 20 minutes in light rime, which seemed like an
    eternity. My first indication was always a need to add 100 RPM to maintain
    altitude. Then another 100 RPM within five minutes or less. And only then,
    after that initial warning, could you actually see rime forming on the wing
    leading edges, and at the base of the windshield, creeping upwards. In a
    couple of cases it got up to maybe ľ inch of rime on the wing, maybe a bit
    more, before I could get out of it. I had to go to 2700 and 125 rich of
    peak to prevent an uncommanded descent, while maintaining maybe only 110
    knots indicated. Also note that probably half of my airframe icing has come
    at indicated OATs between 32 and 35 degrees, not just when at or below 32.
    The thermometer checks out while on the ground, so I think it is reading
    correctly.



    My impression is that the Sierra does as well as anything else with the same
    pounds-per-horsepower and wing loading, and perhaps slightly better than an
    equivalent strut-braced high wingÖ which is to say that none of the planes
    in this class will safely carry any measurable ice. Performance
    characteristics become too unpredictable, among all the other pitfalls
    related to icing. While you can literally keep the plane in the air with
    more ice on it, by running full power and a lower IAS, you donít know what
    the magic IAS will be, where it drops out from under you. On top of that,
    you had better be prepared to land it at whatever IAS is keeping it
    airborne. I wonít get into all the details about tailplane icing, flap use
    with icing, tailplane stalls, etc. I am outlining the ice load versus
    IAS/power relationship only because it helps explain why someone can say
    that they landed with more airframe ice than someone else had reported as
    affecting performance.



    I canít resist saying that, when evaluating whether to buy a Sierra, how it
    handles icing would be near the bottom of my list. Any plane in this class
    should keep you alive long enough to get out of it, assuming you are doing
    so with bold intent. And if you are using that bold intent to ride it out
    instead, you will get killed doing it in something. Even the light planes
    that are certified for known icing, have decidedly low limits of tolerance
    for significant icing conditions.





    _____

    From: musketeermail@yahoogroups.com [mailto:musketeermail@yahoogroups.com]
    On Behalf Of Martin Vanover
    Sent: Tuesday, December 20, 2005 7:16 PM
    To: Musketeer Group
    Subject: [musketeermail] Sierra's performance in light icing conditions



    A potential airplane buyer who lives in the Northwest asked me if I knew how
    the Sierra handles light icing. He mentioned his Mooney was pretty bad even
    with very light icing. I believe he said HOPELESS. He also mentioned that
    the Arrow did pretty good. I haven't any Sierra or Musketteer experience
    and I NEVER fly in icing conditions, so I can't comment. Has anyone
    encountered light ice in and Mouse and how does the Sierras, Sundowners,
    Musketeers handle it?

    Thanks,
    Marty Vanover
    Phoenix, Az.

    _____



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  2. #2

    Sierra's performance in light icing conditions

    I encountered some light ice trying to climb through an overcast in western Texas. I have a Continental IO346A equipped Musketeer. I think in retrospect the first thing that happened is that the air filter iced up and the alternate air door opened. Everything seemed OK but the climb was more anemic than usual. I entered the clouds at about 4,000 msl and never could climb past 6,000 msl. I expected the clouds to be about 500 feet thick and I kept thinking that I would break out on top any minute. When the windshield covered with Ice and I could see ice on the wings I knew it was all over. My climb rate was near nill so I called ATC and told them I had to get lower. They told me to keep climbing that I couldn't have a lower altitide. When I called them to tell them that I was unable to climb they couldn't hear me because of ice on the antenna. Control was still good so I did a descending 180 which probably looked like a spin on the radar. The controller got
    really excited. I could hear him, but he couldn't hear me. A navy flight in the area relayed to the controller that I was still flying and descending below the clouds and returning to Sonora. When I broke out and got below the freezing level the ice left me as quick as it came. I canceled IFR and returned to Sonora.

    That night I had a big steak and a couple of Martinis. The rules say no drinking 8 hours before flight but they don't say anything about after.

    Control was normal but power output went down so that I couldn't climb. Climbing through a thick deck is not an option and I wouldn't want to be caught in ice without warmer air below and room between the clouds and the ground.

    Willis

    Martin Vanover <b024700@yahoo.com> wrote:A potential airplane buyer who lives in the Northwest asked me if I knew how the Sierra handles light icing. He mentioned his Mooney was pretty bad even with very light icing. I believe he said HOPELESS. He also mentioned that the Arrow did pretty good. I haven't any Sierra or Musketteer experience and I NEVER fly in icing conditions, so I can't comment. Has anyone encountered light ice in and Mouse and how does the Sierras, Sundowners, Musketeers handle it?

    Thanks,
    Marty Vanover
    Phoenix, Az.

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  3. #3

    Sierra's performance in light icing conditions

    Having flown in more ice than I care to remember I can say that you do
    not want to be in ice. Ice is not nice. I used to fly contract for UPS
    Next Day Air in Cessna 404's and Caravans. We viewed all the ice
    equipment (certified known ice) on our planes as a way to give us an
    extra 5 minutes to get out of the ice. If you get ice on your plane
    immediatly climb. It will come down all by itself later. If the
    controller gives you any hassle declare an emergency. Ice forming on a
    small Beech is very serious. You should know if there is an inversion
    layer that may give you a degree of safety. The best bet is to avoid
    ice like the plague. Just because its rime dont assume is isnt as
    serious as clear. The worst ice is freezing rain. I doubt if our
    Beechs can climb out of it to the warmer air above. I'm not trying to
    preach (well maybe I am) Keep the little Beech's out of the ice.

    John Amundsen
    C-23
    Winter Haven, FL (Not much ice here)





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  4. #4

    Sierra's performance in light icing conditions

    Martin,

    I have never had my Sierra in ice, but I had my
    Sundowner in ice at different times back when I used
    to fly a lot of hard IFR. Not intentional, but it
    happens. Only one time was it so bad, I didn't think I
    would make it. A Baron reported an inch of ice
    crossing my path, to another airport, and I'm sure I
    got the same when I decended into the clouds. I missed
    the approach the first time and flew the entire missed
    approach procedure turn in the icing. I was full
    throttle just to maintain altitude, and when one blade
    of the prop ice broke off, I felt my time was up. That
    old Sundowner took a pounding I don't think many would
    take. I jockeyed the throttle, and the other side
    broke off, and I was able to land in a slip, using the
    storm window, because the screen was totally iced.
    Slipping an ice laden Sundowner, I'm probably lucky to
    be here. As many of these guys know, I'm still in love
    with a Sundowner. I'm sure my Sierra would carry as
    much ice as a Sundowner, but as we all know, ice never
    forms the same way and when we get it, we become test
    pilots. All I know is that I would rather be in a
    Sundowner for ice, than any other plane made without
    de-icing. Time to get off my Sundowner soap box.

    Dan Kirby, Sierra N9299S

    --- Martin Vanover <b024700@yahoo.com> wrote:

    > A potential airplane buyer who lives in the
    > Northwest asked me if I knew how the Sierra handles
    > light icing. He mentioned his Mooney was pretty bad
    > even with very light icing. I believe he said
    > HOPELESS. He also mentioned that the Arrow did
    > pretty good. I haven't any Sierra or Musketteer
    > experience and I NEVER fly in icing conditions, so I
    > can't comment. Has anyone encountered light ice in
    > and Mouse and how does the Sierras, Sundowners,
    > Musketeers handle it?
    >
    > Thanks,
    > Marty Vanover
    > Phoenix, Az.
    >
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  5. #5

    Sierra's performance in light icing conditions

    Amen, John

    Dan Kirby

    --- John Amundsen <jamundsen@tampabay.rr.com> wrote:

    > Having flown in more ice than I care to remember I
    > can say that you do
    > not want to be in ice. Ice is not nice. I used to
    > fly contract for UPS
    > Next Day Air in Cessna 404's and Caravans. We viewed
    > all the ice
    > equipment (certified known ice) on our planes as a
    > way to give us an
    > extra 5 minutes to get out of the ice. If you get
    > ice on your plane
    > immediatly climb. It will come down all by itself
    > later. If the
    > controller gives you any hassle declare an
    > emergency. Ice forming on a
    > small Beech is very serious. You should know if
    > there is an inversion
    > layer that may give you a degree of safety. The
    > best bet is to avoid
    > ice like the plague. Just because its rime dont
    > assume is isnt as
    > serious as clear. The worst ice is freezing rain. I
    > doubt if our
    > Beechs can climb out of it to the warmer air above.
    > I'm not trying to
    > preach (well maybe I am) Keep the little Beech's out
    > of the ice.
    >
    > John Amundsen
    > C-23
    > Winter Haven, FL (Not much ice here)
    >
    >
    >
    >
    >
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  6. #6

    Sierra's performance in light icing conditions

    --- In musketeermail@yahoogroups.com, "Mike Rellihan" <rellihan@r...>
    wrote:
    >
    > I can't resist saying that, when evaluating whether to buy a
    Sierra, how it
    > handles icing would be near the bottom of my list. Any plane in
    this class
    > should keep you alive long enough to get out of it, assuming you
    are doing
    > so with bold intent. And if you are using that bold intent to
    ride it out
    > instead, you will get killed doing it in something. Even the light
    planes
    > that are certified for known icing, have decidedly low limits of
    tolerance
    > for significant icing conditions.
    >


    As usual, Mike has nailed it on the head. If you've spent enough
    time in ice in this class of airplanes to evaluate their relative
    handling qualities, then you've already beaten the odds. What's so
    bad about how his Mooney handled ice? It got him out of it, didn't
    it?

    I've flown my share in Northeast winters, and once in a while picked
    up maybe 1/2" of ice on the wings, only once (so far, knock wood) in
    the Sierra. My escape strategy was to stay high and drop fast, stay
    at cruise right to the middle marker, since I had a mile of runway to
    work with, and use no flaps. For some reason or another I was
    uninterested in exploring handling qualities at that particular
    moment.

    Craig MacCallum
    Sierra N525SB
    Montclair, NJ






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  7. #7

    Sierra's performance in light icing conditions

    I hope to never find out. If I do my homework right, I'll stay out of that
    stuff and NO trip is worth the risk.
    Dr Bill
    N9230S
    76 Sundowner
    -----Original Message-----
    From: musketeermail@yahoogroups.com
    [mailto:musketeermail@yahoogroups.com]On Behalf Of Martin Vanover
    Sent: Tuesday, December 20, 2005 7:16 PM
    To: Musketeer Group
    Subject: [musketeermail] Sierra's performance in light icing conditions


    A potential airplane buyer who lives in the Northwest asked me if I knew
    how the Sierra handles light icing. He mentioned his Mooney was pretty bad
    even with very light icing. I believe he said HOPELESS. He also mentioned
    that the Arrow did pretty good. I haven't any Sierra or Musketteer
    experience and I NEVER fly in icing conditions, so I can't comment. Has
    anyone encountered light ice in and Mouse and how does the Sierras,
    Sundowners, Musketeers handle it?

    Thanks,
    Marty Vanover
    Phoenix, Az.

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  8. #8

    Sierra's performance in light icing conditions

    Good answers and there's good reason. With respect to power in any
    of these little airplanes, figure that ice is about 37-57#/ft3 and
    we can easily pick up more than 50 square feet of ice covering. At
    47#/ft3, that means in addition to the odd shapes that the airfoils
    (prop, wing tailplane) become, the wing needs to support an
    additional 235 pound for each TENTH of an inch. A half-inch isn't
    much, can accrete REALLY fast, and add roughly 1100 pounds to
    whatever else you're carrying. Stall speed goes up and climb speed
    decreases until the two meet.

    I just checked and the NTSB database has about one airframe icing
    accident entry per month and I'm sure most pilots have heard of the
    problems Cessna Caravans, ATR's and other turboprops have, even when
    certified for flight into icing conditions. There've been several
    really good responses to this that basically come down to how
    important it is to avoid icing.

    Bob
    --- In musketeermail@yahoogroups.com, Martin Vanover <b024700@y...>
    wrote:
    >
    > A potential airplane buyer who lives in the Northwest asked me if
    I knew how the Sierra handles light icing. He mentioned his Mooney
    was pretty bad even with very light icing. I believe he said
    HOPELESS. He also mentioned that the Arrow did pretty good. I
    haven't any Sierra or Musketteer experience and I NEVER fly in icing
    conditions, so I can't comment. Has anyone encountered light ice in
    and Mouse and how does the Sierras, Sundowners, Musketeers handle it?
    >
    > Thanks,
    > Marty Vanover
    > Phoenix, Az.
    >
    > __________________________________________________
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    >






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  9. #9

    Sierra's performance in light icing conditions

    Unfortunately that is easier said than done. The only way to be absolutely sure that you never get ice is to avoid flying when there is a cloud anywhere on your route and the ground temperature is below 55 deg F. The morning that I got my ice the temperature was about 40 F and I spent a good 10 minutes asking about ice and being reassured by the FSS weather briefer that it was not expected. At first I had about 100 rpm less than normal in the climb and the climb was slower than normal. I couldn't figure out what my problem was and kept working with the mixture and checking things. In 4 or 5 minutes after takeoff I was in the cloud layer and trying to hold Vy exactly while watching the climb rate get slower and slower. The clouds above me kept getting brighter and giving me hope that I was about to break out on top. I had no ice on the windscreen and could see none on the wings. Then at the end of the next scan when I checked the windscreen it was opaque. It
    was only 10 seconds or so between wondering why my climb was slow and time to take action because of ice.

    The moral to this story is that no matter how careful you are if you fly IFR in the winter you will eventually have to deal with ice. Have an escape plan and be ready to execute it without delay.

    Cheers, Willis

    Dr Bill Heybruck <heybruck@bellsouth.net> wrote: I hope to never find out. If I do my homework right, I'll stay out of that
    stuff and NO trip is worth the risk.
    Dr Bill
    N9230S
    76 Sundowner
    -----Original Message-----
    From: musketeermail@yahoogroups.com
    [mailto:musketeermail@yahoogroups.com]On Behalf Of Martin Vanover
    Sent: Tuesday, December 20, 2005 7:16 PM
    To: Musketeer Group
    Subject: [musketeermail] Sierra's performance in light icing conditions


    A potential airplane buyer who lives in the Northwest asked me if I knew
    how the Sierra handles light icing. He mentioned his Mooney was pretty bad
    even with very light icing. I believe he said HOPELESS. He also mentioned
    that the Arrow did pretty good. I haven't any Sierra or Musketteer
    experience and I NEVER fly in icing conditions, so I can't comment. Has
    anyone encountered light ice in and Mouse and how does the Sierras,
    Sundowners, Musketeers handle it?

    Thanks,
    Marty Vanover
    Phoenix, Az.

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  10. #10

    Sierra's performance in light icing conditions

    Amen to that, Willis,

    I was with an instructor in a cherokee, on a day with
    few clouds, descended thru one and felt like hitting
    mud in a car. We had thick clear ice on the leading
    edge and wind screen in just the few seconds we were
    in that cloud. It melted quickly with no problems, but
    it let us know how quickly it can form.

    Dan Kirby, Sierra N9299S

    --- WILLIS COOKE <wrcooke@flash.net> wrote:

    > Unfortunately that is easier said than done. The
    > only way to be absolutely sure that you never get
    > ice is to avoid flying when there is a cloud
    > anywhere on your route and the ground temperature
    > is below 55 deg F. The morning that I got my ice
    > the temperature was about 40 F and I spent a good
    > 10 minutes asking about ice and being reassured by
    > the FSS weather briefer that it was not expected.
    > At first I had about 100 rpm less than normal in
    > the climb and the climb was slower than normal. I
    > couldn't figure out what my problem was and kept
    > working with the mixture and checking things. In 4
    > or 5 minutes after takeoff I was in the cloud layer
    > and trying to hold Vy exactly while watching the
    > climb rate get slower and slower. The clouds above
    > me kept getting brighter and giving me hope that I
    > was about to break out on top. I had no ice on the
    > windscreen and could see none on the wings. Then at
    > the end of the next scan when I checked the
    > windscreen it was opaque. It
    > was only 10 seconds or so between wondering why my
    > climb was slow and time to take action because of
    > ice.
    >
    > The moral to this story is that no matter how
    > careful you are if you fly IFR in the winter you
    > will eventually have to deal with ice. Have an
    > escape plan and be ready to execute it without
    > delay.
    >
    > Cheers, Willis
    >
    > Dr Bill Heybruck <heybruck@bellsouth.net> wrote: I
    > hope to never find out. If I do my homework right,
    > I'll stay out of that
    > stuff and NO trip is worth the risk.
    > Dr Bill
    > N9230S
    > 76 Sundowner
    > -----Original Message-----
    > From: musketeermail@yahoogroups.com
    > [mailto:musketeermail@yahoogroups.com]On Behalf Of
    > Martin Vanover
    > Sent: Tuesday, December 20, 2005 7:16 PM
    > To: Musketeer Group
    > Subject: [musketeermail] Sierra's performance in
    > light icing conditions
    >
    >
    > A potential airplane buyer who lives in the
    > Northwest asked me if I knew
    > how the Sierra handles light icing. He mentioned
    > his Mooney was pretty bad
    > even with very light icing. I believe he said
    > HOPELESS. He also mentioned
    > that the Arrow did pretty good. I haven't any
    > Sierra or Musketteer
    > experience and I NEVER fly in icing conditions, so I
    > can't comment. Has
    > anyone encountered light ice in and Mouse and how
    > does the Sierras,
    > Sundowners, Musketeers handle it?
    >
    > Thanks,
    > Marty Vanover
    > Phoenix, Az.
    >
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