That might as well be the FAA's Eastern Region counsel’s new interpretation of "known icing conditions", says AOPA, and it’s this new wording that might be serious cause for alarm, says Luis Gutierrez, AOPA’s director of regulatory and certification policy:
"This overly restrictive interpretation of 'known icing conditions,' if literally applied, would unnecessarily ground many safe general aviation flights and may negatively affect safety because many pilots would not be able to train nor maintain flying proficiency during the winter season."Taken at face value, the new interpretation says that "high relative humidity" constitutes known icing conditions. This means that in high relative humidity conditions when the temperature is near or below freezing, pilots must fly an aircraft with deicing equipment.
Gutierrez has submitted a letter to FAA asking that the FAA Eastern Region's letter of interpretation be rescinded, mostly because it makes absolutely no sense:
AOPA pointed out that this restrictive interpretation is not consistent with other FAA publications, including the Aeronautical Information Manual, which state that visible moisture, along with freezing temperatures, is necessary for structural icing in flight. High relative humidity is not visible.AOPA’s logic for questioning this move by FAA is right on:
The association further explained that relative humidity is not included in FAA or National Weather Service aviation weather reports or forecasts. "So how are pilots to know when high relative humidity would be a factor to their flight," Gutierrez challenged the FAA, "and how are pilots expected to know what constitutes high relative humidity since this is not defined anywhere?"This is just one more example of why every licensed pilot in the land needs to be members of AOPA. Without them representing us in Washington, FAA and the people who fund them would be left to pummel us with whatever off-the-wall regulatory B.S. they could come up with.
If you are not AOPA, shame on you. Click here to fix that right now.