Meteorological conditions during the formation of ice on aircraft

Samuels, L T (Weather Bureau)
naca-tn-439
December 1932


These are the results of a number of records recently secured from autographic meteorological instruments mounted on airplanes at times when ice formed. Ice is found to collect on an airplane only when the airplane is in some form of visible moisture, such as cloud, fog, mist, rain. etc., and the air temperature is within certain critical limits. Described here are the characteristics of clear ice and rime ice and the specific types of hazards they present to airplanes and lighter than air vehicles. The weather records are classified according to the two general types of formation (clear ice and rime) together with the respective temperatures, relative humidities, clouds, and elevations above ground at which formations occurred. This classification includes 108 cases where rime formed, 43 cases in which clear ice formed, and 4 cases when both rime and clear ice formed during the same flight. It is evident from the above figures that there was a preponderance of rime by the ratio of 2.5 to 1, while in only a few cases both types of ice formation occurred during the same flight.

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