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A Little About This Video  !

It's with some hesitation I go public with this footage so I decided to talk a little about this video before you view it. I really didn't like what happened here. In the first cut of the video I removed anything and everything that had to do with me getting iced up. My fear was I'd encourage someone to purposely fly into icing conditions because "that 160knots guy did it."

The weather over Redding extending into the cascades was marginal VFR and very undefined, a heavy haze layer with a broken layer below. Forward visibility 3 to 5 miles. XM Weather showed some light widely scattered precipitation ahead at the Oregon border. I asked center for and received an IFR clearance choosing a route the pretty much followed interstate 5 though the Cascades. The MEA is 12,000 but I requested 16,000 so I had some safety altitude under me. If I picked up any ice before Shasta I would 180 back to Redding and spend the night.

At 16,000 were were in and out of the tops, no airframe icing.  Mt. Shasta came and went without any issues. A thunderstorm was quickly building 10 miles north of the Siskiyou airport. I asked center for and received a 30 degree turn for weather avoidance. We went IMC as we got closer to the cell. XM updated and showed we were going to just clip a light green area on the leading edge of the cell. We were in light snow and snow is good so I didn't ask for another turn for weather avoidance.  As we entered the green area snow changed to moderate freezing rain that stuck to the airframe on contact, rime ice was building rapidly. XM weather showed I was going to be out of it in a mile (seemed like 30 minutes at the time) so I decided to stay the course.

Questions I'm going to get:

Did you consider routing up the coast where MEA's are lower?
I had flight planed it as an alternate route but a very large thunderstorm was moving into that area.

Why didn't you confess to Seattle Center that you were icing up?
Because ATC would have descended us to the MEA trying to get us into warmer air. I suspected 12,000 would still be below freezing. I wanted the additional 4000' feet of altitude under me in case I needed it. Remember the three things you can't use in aviation?
 * The runway behind you.
 * The air in your fuel tanks.
 * The altitude above you.

Why do you consider snow a good thing?
In my experience snow flakes are gathering the ice crystals and nothing is sticking to the airframe. When the snow stops you'll start building ice. I've never seen that in a book, it's just my observations.

If the area was only light green why did you encounter so much perception?
At the time I forgot XM weather is about 10 minutes +/- old. The storm was moving into my path and extended farther into it than XM was reporting. I should have gave the cell some more room, aka respect.

Why is the video from the cell penetration missing?
The memory chip in the camera filled up. I changed it to Video Tape and kept recording but I missed about 5 minutes. Had it been recording you would have heard me scream like a little girl then cuss like a truck driver all in the same breath.

Why didn't you just ask center for another turn and avoid the weather?
I should have, lesson learned.

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Last Updated
June 28, 2009

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Frank Holbert
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