It will come as no surprise to users of
the ASRS Data Base Online that many ASRS incident reports contain
descriptive references to weather—rain, freezing rain, thunderstorms, frost, snow,
ice, hurricanes, tornados, lightning, dust storms, wind, microbursts,
and hail—not to mention unlimited ceilings and visibility.
But did you realize that hundreds of pop song titles also use
weather words to good effect?
For our October issue, we sample a variety
of weather-related ASRS incident reports through pop song titles—from “Terminal
Frost” to “Snowbird.”
The wings of an airplane are said to be “cold-soaked” when
they contain very cold fuel as a result of landing after
a flight at high altitude, or from being filled with
very cold fuel. This condition often occurs when high
humidity is present, and may lead to frost accumulation
and icing on wing surfaces. A B737-700 First Officer
reported to ASRS that Cold-Soaked Fuel Frost may occur
on both longer and shorter flights, and is a preflight
Fuel Frost has occurred on a number of company flights.
The FOM requires the Captain to check for Cold-Soaked
Fuel Frost on flights over 2 hours…It occurs
on the [B737] Classic and NG on flights well under
two hours in a variety of weather conditions. I am
submitting this report to increase awareness and
encourage checks for Cold-Soaked Fuel Frost on every
…[Inbound] flight 1:54 hours. During preflight,
as part of my own personal check of the aircraft, I
checked the wing from one row behind the emergency
exit window. Cold-Soaked Fuel Frost covered a large
portion of both wings. Weather at the time was clear,
66o F. I notified the Captain, who also looked at the
wing. After passenger boarding was complete I went
to the back and again checked the wing…Only
condensation remained and we departed without delay.
have had Cold-Soaked Fuel Frost [on]: 1:20 hour flight,
80o F, clear sky. 1:05 hour flight, 70o F, clear sky. Checks...
need to be incorporated into every leg no matter the duration
of the previous flight. Ladders need to be provided
to allow the crew to conduct a tactile or hand-on
check of the wing when Cold-Soaked Fuel Frost occurs.
It can be clear ice or difficult to determine if
it is condensation or ice….
"Blame It on the Rain" (Milli
A B737 First Officer made an alarming discovery when
inspecting the aircraft’s engines during preflight.
was raining quite heavily. When I was doing my preflight
walkaround, I found a pair of Ramper’s knee pads,
half-way back, and sitting inside the #2 engine. Obviously,
one of the Rampers had set them there to prevent
them from getting wet while unloading/loading
the aircraft. I removed the knee pads and handed
them to the first Ramper I came across. There
was great potential for engine damage or even
worse if the chain of events had been different),
i.e., Ramper puts knee pads in engine after
I do my walkaround and then forgets about them,
and we start engines….
"The Wind Beneath My Wings" (Bette
For a CFI light twin pilot, applause from passengers on the landing roll was short-lived.
flying GPS approach to Runway 9. There was a runway change
and I was vectored for ILS to Runway 27. Weather from
ATIS was reported to be ceiling 900 feet, visibility
3 miles in rain, winds 230 degrees at 15 knots gusting
to 30 knots. Started down the approach, broke out at
900 feet. Crosswind was coming from the left, applied
left crosswind correction. Touchdown smooth (my friends
applauded). The airplane was thrown upward by a microburst.
I added some power and regained control and brought it
down again. The airplane was then slammed to the runway.
When I taxied in, I noticed that the wind was coming
from approximately 130 degrees and at least 15 knots
(the windsock was fully extended).
I called the Tower to
report the microburst and the wind difference. They told
me that the winds were all over the compass and that
they had received reports of Low Level Wind Shear…My left prop grazed
the runway and my nose strut was pushed up. There were
"Ceiling Unlimited" (Rush)
The forecast of Ceilings and Visibility Unlimited (CAVU) brings visions
of great flying weather. A B757 flight crew discovered that CAVU may
also mask less desirable weather conditions.
was night CAVU. Descending through 5,000 feet we encountered continuous
periods of continuous moderate chop and moderate turbulence.
We had the airport in sight on downwind, but requested
vectors to the final due to the turbulence, night,
and we were both a bit tired…On final, the Tower
reported the winds out of the northwest at 7 knots.
The FMC was showing 30 knots of wind at 1,000 feet,
so we selected a target speed of VREF plus 15 knots,
expecting the wind to diminish by landing. The ride
was very rough, and descending through approximately
400 feet, we received a reactive windshear warning.
We executed the windshear recovery procedure per the
flight manual. Once through the shear, we cleaned up
and received vectors back for landing …We did
not encounter windshear on the second approach and
"Crying Lightning" (Arctic
A pilot and passenger aboard a corporate high-performance
turbine aircraft encountered unexpected lightning
to encounter light turbulence in clouds.
Without warning, a lightning bolt struck
the aircraft and [we] concurrently encountered
severe turbulence. All EFIS screens went
blank, static in cockpit [was] so loud that
intercom to backseater [was] unusable, generator
fell off line, landing gear unsafe lights
came on, VHF com radios [were] overcome by
static, autopilot unusable. Engine operated
normally. Standby EFIS came back on line after
a short time, but main primary flight display
was giving only partial information, being
altitude, heading, but no air data. We were
unsure if navigation instrumentation was operating
correctly. ATC called and stated our altitude
had deviated significantly, and the standby
EFIS indicated we were several hundred feet
off assigned altitude. ATC requested we call
a phone number. It appeared we had hit a severe
turbulent updraft. We informed ATC we were
struck by lightning and requested descent.
We came out of cloud into clear conditions.
The electronic instrumentation began to come
back on line after reboot. However, the generator
would not stay on line and the landing gear
unsafe light remained illuminated. We decided
to divert. Gear came down normally and landing
Upon inspection of aircraft, evidence of
lightning strike was evident. Removed Generator
Control Unit and it looked like someone had
taken a torch to it…
"Butterflies and Hurricanes" (Muse)
The aftermath of a hurricane led to a missed approach by an EMB-135,
and flight crew “butterflies” during the climbout. Here’s
the Captain’s story:
was the Pilot Not Flying…Before
I left the hotel I contacted Dispatch to talk
about the weather [at destination] where it
was receiving the aftermath of a hurricane.
The current weather was 1 sm, 1,200 feet overcast,
and winds 010 degrees at 25 knots gusting to
35 knots. The forecast weather was similar
and seemed to hold true. On ILS Runway 30R
approach around 1,500 feet I noticed our airspeed
rapidly decreasing and yelled ‘power.’ Almost
simultaneously the First Officer added power
and we received a red windshear warning. The
First Officer then executed the windshear procedures
by adding max thrust and pressing the GAR [Go-Around]
button. I informed the Tower that we were going
missed due to windshear. Their instructions
were to climb and maintain 3,000 feet. After
the windshear warning went away, we cleaned
up the aircraft.
Rapidly approaching 3,000
feet, I noticed the First Officer had to use an
excessive forward force on the control column to
decrease the rate of climb. I could tell we weren’t
going to level off. I told him to press and
hold the quick disconnect button because I
thought we may have a runaway trim because
of the amount of forward force to slow down
the climb. I informed ATC that we needed higher,
and they gave us 4,000 feet, then 5,000 feet,
and then a block altitude that we requested
from 5,000 feet to 8,000 feet.
of climb with full nose forward pressure on the
control [column] was around 500-1,000 fpm. This
was also with a decreased amount of power that
kept us anywhere from 200 knots to 220 knots, as
airspeed was also hard to control due to turbulence.
I continued to run the QRH and cut out both pitch
trim systems. Then I turned the main system back
on and the First Officer was then able to use
the trim. We stabilized the aircraft at 7,000
In our climb I informed ATC
our intentions were to divert to…our best alternate,
where weather was better. I thought this was
the best decision due to current [area] conditions….
For a C150 instructor and student, weather conditions
changed a planned training flight into a demo
of soft field landing techniques.
objective of the training flight was to gain
cross-country experience as well as to learn
how to navigate around isolated snow showers.
We were in a non-IFR certified aircraft. No
flight plan was filed. A web site was consulted
for weather, but no preflight brief was obtained.
The weather was reported as isolated snow showers
and light winds. We departed…with an
en route distance/time of 56 miles/50 minutes.
As we circumvented the isolated snow showers,
our time en route had extended to 1 hour 40
minutes. The sun had set and daylight was fading,
our original destination was obscured with
snow, so we decided to divert to another airport.
We contacted Approach Control and asked for
vectoring assistance, but all airports within
20 miles were IMC with snow. The area where
we were flying was VFR with unlimited ceiling.
I decided it was safer to land the airplane
in a field while we had remaining daylight
instead of trying to navigate around snow showers
in the dark. No Mayday call was made, but the
Approach Controller was informed of our decision.
We were given a phone number to contact the
Tower after we landed, and then descended to
the farm field. The field was frozen solid
with about 3 inches of snow. The approach was
upwind parallel to the furrows. A soft field
landing technique was used with no damage/injuries
to the aircraft or the 2 occupants.
In conclusion, a full preflight brief would
have given us a more accurate understanding
of the weather we encountered. A better understanding
of the weather could have led us to the decision
not to fly that day.
We have made recent changes at the ASRS! In May 2009, we launched an internal end-to-end electronic “Analyst Workbench”. This tool assists our Expert Aviation Safety Analysts in processing reports you submit through the ASRS website or send by U.S. mail.
Coming Soon! We will launch a new and improved version of our database search tool, ”Database Online” (DBOL) in November 2009 that will be more efficient and user-friendly. It will also include Microsoft Word, Excel, and html report outputs. As always, we welcome your suggestions or comments on our improvements.