The FAA's general counsel published a letter of interpretation for comment on April 3 in the Federal Register regarding a proposed change in the definition of "known icing."
This comes after a request by AOPA in November 2006 that the FAA rescind an interpretation by the agency's Eastern Region counsel, which said that "high relative humidity" combined with freezing temperatures could constitute known icing conditions. AOPA said such a definition would ground general aviation for most of the winter.
Now, the FAA wants to know what pilots think of its new interpretation before making it final.
The proposed letter of interpretation reads in part, "The ultimate decision whether, when, and where to make the flight rests with the pilot. A pilot also must continue to reevaluate changing weather conditions. If the composite information indicates to a reasonable and prudent pilot that he or she will encounter visible moisture at freezing or near freezing temperatures and that ice will adhere to the aircraft along the proposed route and altitude of flight, then known icing conditions likely exist. If the AFM prohibits flight in known icing conditions and the pilot operates in such conditions, the FAA could take enforcement action."
"The FAA's definition leaves it up to pilots to decide whether or not icing conditions could be present along their route of flight," said Rob Hackman, AOPA director of security and regulatory policy. "This is appropriate because the pilot must make the go/no-go decision based on the weather information."
AOPA is reviewing the interpretation, and the association will be filing comments before the May 3 deadline.
Members are encouraged to submit their comments on the proposed definition online or to:
Docket Management Facility
U.S. Department of Transportation
400 Seventh Street, SW
Washington, DC 20590-0001
April 5, 2007