Removing Frost from the Wings


Here’s some thoughts about frost on the wings…

I’m sure many of you have had your plans for an early morning departure squashed due to a frost covered airplane.  I know I have!

So what do you do about it?  Simply ignoring the issue isn’t an option.  The wing needs to be clean.  This can be accomplished by placing the plane in the sun, deicing, or removing the frost by some other means.

Some instructors indicate that if the frosty surface is polished to remove the coarse stuff than that’s good enough.  I disagree, that violates the clean wing concept and opens the door to personal interpetation.

One instructor I talked to indicated that the frost could be polished until it is completely removed using a rag.  Another instructor said a good way to remove the frost is to use a rope, and stand behind the wing and run the rope over the wing and back under then take each end in one hand and run it back and forth to remove the frost.

The point is though, that the wing needs to be clean.  Not polished frost, if it’s frost, you either continue polishing until it’s all gone or if it’s ice and doesn’t need polishing then it’s a different problem that is equally unacceptable. I think "clean wing" is the key word, it’s either "clean" or it’s not. There is no in-between, as something less than a "clean wing" being taught as acceptable invites a pilot to make their own interpretation as to whether the condition requires addressing before flight or not.