Reply To: Icing

Louise Hahn

Wings that are thin or have sharp leading edges are more efficient ice collectors. For this reason, smaller, thin airfoils may accrete more ice faster than larger, thick airfoils. A large transport aircraft will accrete proportionally less ice than a smaller aircraft traversing the same icing environment.

Also, if the leading edge radius of the wing decreases from root to tip (as it frequently does in swept or tapered wings), the ice accretion will be proportionately greater near the tip. When contaminated with ice, wings with this design may experience flow separation at the tip before the root. Note that this is exactly opposite the way clean wings are typically designed to experience flow separation. Thus, when you fly these types of aircraft, you could lose aileron effectiveness before total wing stall, increasing the probability of an uncommanded roll and greater difficulty in regaining control.

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