Great Lakes Winter flying weather questions.

This forum has been developed to discuss flight instruction/University and College programs.

Moderators: lilfssister, North Shore, ahramin, sky's the limit, sepia, Sulako, Right Seat Captain

Post Reply
User avatar
Rookie50
Rank (9)
Rank (9)
Posts: 1819
Joined: Mon Apr 09, 2012 6:00 am
Location: Clear of the Active.

Great Lakes Winter flying weather questions.

Post by Rookie50 »

As a low time pilot with just enough experience to be dangerous, 8) , I am trying to understand better, when I cannot and when I could consider flights in the great lakes areas in the early winter, before freeze up, and try to understand better conditions in advance (not from a 12 -24 hour TAF).

I am IR rated, but negative de-ice, which mildly complicates things. I understand any cloud below freezing temps can create ice, and that is the approach Ive essentially used. Perhaps around the great lakes, it is the only approach.

I fly a lot of volunteer stuff like Hope air from the YYZ area to the near north, always transiting those lakes. I cancelled a flight for tommorrow to Cyam -- see GFA -- a couple of days ago based on the weather models and publics.

Note the extensive cloud on the GFA over georgian Bay. but no forecast icing.????

https://flightplanning.navcanada.ca/Lat ... Mode=graph

The US icing forecast, does have icing.....

http://aviationweather.gov/icing/fip

Appreciate any insight, colour, sites, reading....I feel very ignorant in this area. I'd like to complete some flights this time of year if safely possible ( and 4 - 5 hours under an MVFR layer is not great)

Obviously having FIKI would be great -- I don't. Most around here just park their planes come now.

Did I mention, and no offense, I despise CYAM and CYSB this time of year..... :roll:
---------- ADS -----------
  

ahramin
Rank Moderator
Rank Moderator
Posts: 5907
Joined: Tue Feb 17, 2004 5:21 pm
Location: Vancouver

Re: Great Lakes Winter flying weather questions.

Post by ahramin »

Lots of Americans fly around without FIKI in light icing. It's not uncommon to hear a single down there asking ATC for a different altitude due icing. A few die fairly quickly and spectacularly, others last quite a while. Some even manage to survive scaring themselves bad enough to quit doing it.

The GFA you link to is not the icing GFA, it's the clouds and weather GFA. The icing GFA will have the line NIL-LGT ICGIC ABV FZLVL. That NIL-LGT can be little enough to be no more than a mild annoyance, to bad enough to make your 182 unflyable. To be honest, with forecast light icing I've only encountered ice bad enough to take down a light single two or three times in the last 10 years.

I wouldn't take a non FIKI aircraft within 2000' of the freezing level IMC.
---------- ADS -----------
  

User avatar
Rookie50
Rank (9)
Rank (9)
Posts: 1819
Joined: Mon Apr 09, 2012 6:00 am
Location: Clear of the Active.

Re: Great Lakes Winter flying weather questions.

Post by Rookie50 »

ahramin wrote:Lots of Americans fly around without FIKI in light icing. It's not uncommon to hear a single down there asking ATC for a different altitude due icing. A few die fairly quickly and spectacularly, others last quite a while. Some even manage to survive scaring themselves bad enough to quit doing it.

The GFA you link to is not the icing GFA, it's the clouds and weather GFA. The icing GFA will have the line NIL-LGT ICGIC ABV FZLVL. That NIL-LGT can be little enough to be no more than a mild annoyance, to bad enough to make your 182 unflyable. To be honest, with forecast light icing I've only encountered ice bad enough to take down a light single two or three times in the last 10 years.

I wouldn't take a non FIKI aircraft within 2000' of the freezing level IMC.
Am familiar with the GFA -- I posted the clouds and Wx page to show the extensive cloud but no forecast icing on the icing GFA. That is strange to me as they often have forecast icing here with less cloud, as the winds pick up the moisture from unfrozen lakes.

I support your conservative policy hopefully that comes across. Also hoping for longer range tools or rules of thumb to forecast if real IMC will exist as opposed to scattered cloud than can be worked with. I do use the site A Weather Moment and their GEM models.
---------- ADS -----------
  

ahramin
Rank Moderator
Rank Moderator
Posts: 5907
Joined: Tue Feb 17, 2004 5:21 pm
Location: Vancouver

Re: Great Lakes Winter flying weather questions.

Post by ahramin »

---------- ADS -----------
  

ahramin
Rank Moderator
Rank Moderator
Posts: 5907
Joined: Tue Feb 17, 2004 5:21 pm
Location: Vancouver

Re: Great Lakes Winter flying weather questions.

Post by ahramin »

Rookie50 wrote:longer range tools or rules of thumb to forecast if real IMC will exist as opposed to scattered cloud than can be worked with.
Hopefully there are some airports along your route that have TAFs. Longer range you can call the FIC and ask them for a guess. Public forecasts can be useful.

I rarely cancel trips until the day of. When you get up in the morning if the METARs and TAFs are good enough for VFR, you go VFR, but I wouldn't play with IFR in winter anywhere in Canada regardless of what an icing model says. Also, there's much to be said for keeping the option to cancel the trip right up until it's over. If you aren't sure the weather is good enough, be on your A game, be paranoid about the weather, keep options open, don't push yourself down to anywhere near the ground (amazing how tall towers are nowadays), and accept that some of the time you're going to have to turn around and go home.
---------- ADS -----------
  

YXU_wxguy
Rank 0
Rank 0
Posts: 2
Joined: Tue Jul 24, 2012 10:47 am

Re: Great Lakes Winter flying weather questions.

Post by YXU_wxguy »

Also if you look at the right hand panel of the GFA, there is a disclaimer that "CB TCU AND ACC IMPLY SIG TURB AND ICG".

When we (FIC) have commented that the icing from lake effect cloud is not obvious to all and should be depicted on the GFA icing panels, the answer we get is that it is implied because of the TCU being forecast, and every chart has that disclaimer.
---------- ADS -----------
  

User avatar
Rookie50
Rank (9)
Rank (9)
Posts: 1819
Joined: Mon Apr 09, 2012 6:00 am
Location: Clear of the Active.

Re: Great Lakes Winter flying weather questions.

Post by Rookie50 »

They changed the 1200 Z icing forecast to put in forecast icing, which makes more sense with conditions. It should be there when conditions are present, and usually is.
---------- ADS -----------
  

whistlerboy02
Rank 2
Rank 2
Posts: 92
Joined: Sat Mar 28, 2009 7:20 pm

Re: Great Lakes Winter flying weather questions.

Post by whistlerboy02 »

I have the experience of which you speak! 15yrs of IFR here in the Lee of Lake Huron
These big beautiful Great Lakes that offer us so much situational awareness on VFR days are nothing but trouble in the winter with their added moisture. Climbing through an icy cloud in Southern Ohio is a lot different than similar cloud layers here in Ontario. Also lake effect snow (streamers) while not usually topping out higher than 10,000 are extremely bad with ice, frozen pitot tubes, updrafts, Static electricity loss of GPS, just a gross ride in general.
Pilot reports are not overly helpful as the little guys are few and far between on days like that and seldom make pilot reports
On days when the freezing level is at the surface I pretty much fly VFR unless its really cold and the ice isn't sticking. On days when the freezing level is above the surface by a few thousand feet I'll fly IFR. I might sound like a chicken but I have learned the hard way
My rules of thumb when you encounter ice and don't have De Ice are:
Go up if you can get clear of cloud
Go down if its warmer and clear of terrain
Go VFR if you cant do either of the above and legal
Go over or around streamers not through them
IFR in snow but clear of cloud wont give you ice
Clouds below -10 or -15 don't give ice
Flying an approach and landing with residual ice is a very bad feeling and to be avoided
Based on that GFA you made the correct choice in cancelling that flight especially with worse weather at your destination CYAM
edit: take my advice above with a "Grain of Ice" nothing is ever for sure when it comes to icing
---------- ADS -----------
  

Post Reply

Return to “Flight Training”