December 28, 2010
Structural Icing, ME Newsletter, Vol. 3, Issue 52
Sunday morning, pre-post -Christmas breakfast:
I’m flipping through magazines, sipping a gifting of Mountain Blueberry coffee and loving it despite the nose wrinkling protests of others that coffee should taste like coffee. “It does taste like coffee,” I protest… “and a blueberry muffin.”
As the pajama-changing, breakfast prep scattering starts, I settle back with my favorite big black dog and a magazine hoping to find some inspirational new topic to write about. The November 2010 issue of Flying magazine header article addressing the Great Lakes' effect on structural icing looks promising.
“It seems as though some of our most vivid memories come from some of our worst experiences in life. While many pilots don’t remember their first, they will probably never forget their worst. For many, it remains etched in their brain forever. This time of year, convective signets seem to morph into icing airmets as we become prisoners in our own space. But, we can avoid making painful lasting memories if we do some careful pre-flight planning and use some streets smarts to negotiate the system to our advantage during this icing season.”
I skimmed through article searching for physics, skipping the techie talk, sure I didn’t get out of it what that author intended, because as usual my mind flew somewhere entirely.
Structural icing. That’s pretty much where I’m at. Iced. Caught in the limbo of structural icing: frozen in between wanting to be euphorically happy that I have made it this far, and the only semi-acceptable reality of this mediocre place. There is something to be said for acknowledging how I’ve arrived here, and knowing that my own inability to fly at present is due to simply standing still too long, not seeking alternate routes, and exposing myself to elements without regard to long term effects. It’s comfortable alone, above the clouds, in the sunshine of my own false sense of security. It’s pushing through the clouds and coming back down to civilization that poses the most risk. That’s where the moisture hits you. If you’re lucky or if you’ve planned well enough to skirt pitfall pockets, the concentrated condensation rolls away relieving the pressure. If you’re not so lucky or haven’t mapped out alternatives, serious structural icing seizes the opportunity to freeze coat you… from the outside in.
I guess it’s time to pull out those street smarts, find ways around heart-flow traffic jams, calc a good block altitude, rise to required alternative heights. Time to pull out the original instruction manual, find some truer words to fly on, defrost the clear-window ice-box I’ve been frozen safe inside, and glide back in.
Posted by jaselin at December 28, 2010 06:00 PM