Aircraft Ice: Different Types & How it Affects Your Flight

One of the greatest hazards to a cold weather flight is aircraft icing. As a pilot it’s inevitable that you will experience ice during your flying career whether it’s before, during and/or after your flight. This blog will explain the different types of ice and how they affect the flight. The three different types of ice are clear, rime, and mixed ice.

Clear Ice

Clear ice is the most hazardous and can spread out across areas of the aircraft where there is no de-icing equipment. Clear ice or glaze ice is a heavy coating of glassy ice which forms when flying in areas with high concentration of large, supercooled water droplets, such as cumuliform clouds and freezing rain. It spreads, often unevenly, over wing and tail surfaces, propeller blades, antennas, etc.

The danger of clear ice is great owing to:

  1. The loss of lift, because of the altered wing camber and the disruption of the smooth flow of air over the wing and tail surfaces
  2. The increase in drag on account of the enlarged profile area of the wings
  3. The weight of the large mass of ice which may accumulate in a short time
  4. The vibration caused by the unequal loading on the wings and on the blades of the propeller(s)

Rime Ice

Rime ice is an opaque, or milky white, deposit of ice that forms when the airplane is flying through filmy/stratiform clouds.

Rime is typically the most reported type and the least hazardous as it develops as soon as it comes in contact with the surface of the aircraft usually in areas where there is de-icing equipment.

Mixed Ice

Mixed ice is a mixture of the two and can look opaque in color. Favorable conditions include liquid and frozen particles found in the colder portion of the cumuliform cloud and wet snowflakes. The formation process for mixing icing includes that of clear and rime icing. Mixed ice can accumulate rapidly and is difficult to remove.

How it affects your flight

Many aircrafts are prohibited from flying in ice conditions or more specifically, known icing conditions. Icing causes hazards such as an increase in weight and drag and a loss of lift and speed as the ice can disrupt the flow of air passing over the wings. Even the slightest amount of ice will drastically affect the flight. The wings are normally the last structural component to collect ice. Sometimes, a thin coating of ice will form on the windshield, preceded in some instances by frosting. This can occur on take-off and landing and with sufficient rapidity to obscure the runway and other landmarks during a critical time in flight.

What to do when encountering ice

It’s not enough to view forecasts, as icing is difficult to predict. All pilots must be aware of conditions conducive to aircraft icing in order to recognize them and react in real time.

If you encounter icing be prepared to use de-icing equipment, change altitudes or routes, and increase your speed as necessary to counteract the loss of speed and lift from the formation of the ice.

Fly With Aviation Academy

Trust our trained and experienced team of instructors to teach you everything you need to know to get your private pilot license. Want additional certification? We have a wide range of other training options so you can take off to your next career goal. Contact us to learn more about what we offer.

Decision Altitude vs Minimum Descent Altitude


What is the difference between a DA and an MDA? A DA or a Decision Altitude is used on a precision or precision like approach. This is when a glide slope or glide path is used to descent from the final approach fix inbound. Like on an ILS. The DA is minimums for these types of approaches and is the altitude the pilot must make the decision to continue descent to land or go missed. An MDA or Minimum Descent Altitude is used on a non-precision approach and is the lowest altitude a pilot can descent to on that approach (the minimums) before hitting the Visual Descent Point or the Missed Approach Point. The Visual Descent Point is the earliest point on the approach the pilot can descend to land if runway environment is in sight, and the Missed Approach Point is the last point the pilot can descend to land without having to go missed. So, the pilot must maintain the MDA until at least the VDP if the runway is in sight or until the MAP if not.


So, when can you descend below?

According to 14 CFR 91.175…

  1. The aircraft is continuously in a position from which a descent to a landing on the intended runway can be made at a normal rate of descent using normal maneuvers
  2. The flight visibility is not less than the visibility prescribed in the standard instrument approach being used
  3. At least one of the following visual references for the intended runway is distinctly visible and identifiable to the pilot:
    1. The approach light system, except that the pilot may not descend below 100 feet above the touchdown zone elevation using the approach lights as a reference unless the red terminating bars or the red side row bars are also distinctly visible and identifiable.
    2. The threshold
    3. The threshold markings
    4. The threshold lights
    5. The runway end identifier lights
    6. The visual glideslope indicator
    7. The touchdown zone or touchdown zone markings
    8. The touchdown zone lights
    9. The runway or runway markings
    10. The runway lights


Choose Aviation Academy for private pilot training

We are the only part 141 flight school in Wichita, Kansas. Come experience flight instruction and training for private flight instruction, instrument training, commercial certified flight instruction, flight reviews, wings program, and companion flyers. We will guide you through it and propel you on the right flight path for your life and goals. Contact us to learn more. Stay up to date on our school updates and announcements by following our Facebook page.

Ways To Reduce Private Pilot Training Costs

We value our students who choose to go through our school, and we know it can be a big investment. But commercial and private pilots are in high demand and get paid well. Starting salaries begin in the range of $50,000 and up. The pool of qualified pilots has and is shrinking. This means that being a pilot has become a much better paying career. So, the investment in quality training is well worth it.


Aviation Academy will propel you on the right flight path

We guide our students through the process of options, requirements, and all the resources that we know of to help you on the right flight path for your life and goals. Given the hefty investment flying lessons can be, we have rounded up some tips for our students to help reduce the costs of private pilot training. If you are wanting more tips and tricks related to pilot training, check out our other blog posts.


Study before every flying lesson

For every hour you are in the air you should be spending two studying. This helps with minimizing the actual time taken away from your training to review information. You want to optimize your time with your teacher as much as possible.


Plan ahead when going through pilot training

Ask your CFI what maneuvers you will be going over next so you can review the procedures. Your CFI will thank you for coming prepared, and you won’t have to repeat lessons for forgetting how to enter a maneuver.


Chair fly as much as possible

We have an FAA Approved Elite PI-135 Aviation Training Device that can be used for complete startup to shutdown procedures. Get flying credit for the private license, instrument ratings, and recency experience (for rated pilots). Utilizing the flight simulator will help you remember maneuver procedures and keep things fresh.


Fly consistently

This may seem obvious but flying consistently is key to keeping training costs low. Staying proficient is achieved by flying often. Practice makes perfect! Students oftentimes struggle if they space out their flights more than a week apart. This delays training and you are more likely to come unprepared for a lesson and your skills won’t be as sharp.


Become a pilot with Aviation Academy

Flying an airplane isn’t easy, especially when you are just starting out, so the more you work at it consistently, the better. We are the top flight training school in the Midwest and we are the only part 141 school in the Wichita, Kansas area. Reach out to us for more information if you want to become a pilot.

4 Tips to Safely Land an Airplane


A pilot’s safety is most important

There is a saying that while takeoff is optional, landing is mandatory. Unfortunately, a review of accident statistics indicates that over 45 percent of all general aviation accidents occur during the approach and landing phases of a flight. A closer look shows that the cause of over 90 percent of those cases was pilot related, and loss of control was also a major contributing factor in 33 percent of the cases. While the requirement to maneuver close to the ground cannot be eliminated, pilots can develop the skills and follow established procedures to reduce the likelihood of an accident or mishap. We’ve listed out a few important tips to follow and remember when landing your aircraft. Follow our Facebook page for more tips like this.


#1 Know your airplane before you takeoff

It is always important to know your aircrafts performance and the correct airspeeds and configurations to fly when coming into land. Flying the wrong airspeeds could result in stalling on final descent or a lot longer landing distance.


#2 Know your airport that you are flying into

Every pilot should know how to enter the landing pattern at any airport. They should know if the runways are long enough to safely land and what runways are available, along with any closures at the destination airport.


#3 Get the weather at your destination airport

It is always important to get the weather before reaching your destination airport. You always want to land into the wind to minimize landing distance. It is also important to know of any unsafe weather that could be encountered at the destination including thunderstorms, windshear, strong wind gusts, and low visibility or ceilings.


#4 Know the correct vision stance

During the approach, round out, and touchdown; vision is of prime importance. To provide a wide scope of vision and to foster good judgment of height and movement, the pilot’s head should assume a natural, straight-ahead position. Visual focus is not fixed on any one side or any one spot ahead of the airplane. Instead, it is changed slowly from a point just over the airplane’s nose to the desired touchdown zone and back again. This is done while maintaining a deliberate awareness of distance from either side of the runway using your peripheral field of vision. Accurate estimation of distance is, besides being a matter of practice, dependent upon how clearly objects are seen. It requires that the vision be focused properly in order that the important objects stand out as clearly as possible.


Private Pilot Lessons in Wichita, Kansas

Aviation Academy is your one stop shop for achieving your private pilot license through Multi Engine Instructor. We will guide you every step of the way to your journey to flying. If you’re new to the possibility of being a pilot we can guide you through the options, requirements and resources needed. We propel you on the right flight path for your life and goals. We have a flight simulator, our own planes, and we have top trained instructors. If you know what you want, we can fuel your ascent.


Contact us to learn how to fly!

When To Start Your Descent When Flying

If you are ever in a situation where you cannot get immediate guidance on what to do when dealing with descending your airplane, we are here to share some very useful information and tips on how to never forget when to safely start your descent to land.


Private Pilot Lessons in Wichita, Ks

If you don’t already know how to do this, we recommend getting structured training. Contact us if you are interested in learning how to fly. Aviation Academy is a private pilot training school, and we will make sure you know all the ins and outs of how to fly safely. We will get you to where you want to be in your flying and/or pilot journey.


What To Do Before You Descend Your Aircraft

Preparation for the arrival and approach begins long before the descent from the enroute phase of flight. Planning early, while there are fewer demands on the pilot’s attention, leaves the pilot free to concentrate on precise control of the aircraft and better equipped to deal with problems that might arise during the last segment of the flight.


Pilots Need to Plan Ahead When Preparing for Landing

Planning the descent from cruise is important because of the need to dissipate altitude and airspeed in order to arrive at the approached destination. Descending early results in more flight at low altitudes with increased fuel consumption and starting down late results in problems controlling both airspeed and descent rates on the approach.

Prior to flight, pilots need to calculate the fuel, time, and distance required to descend from the cruising altitude to the approach gate altitude for the specific instrument approach at the destination airport. While in flight prior to the descent, it is important for pilots to verify landing weather to include winds at their intended destination. Inclement weather at the destination airport can cause slower descents and missed approaches that require a sufficient amount of fuel that should be calculated prior to starting the descent. In order to plan the descent, the pilot needs to know the cruise altitude, approach gate altitude or initial approach fix altitude, descent groundspeed, and descent rate.


Cross Country Flying – Tips for Starting Your Descent

Not sure when to start your descent on a cross country flight and there’s no instructor there to help you out?

A good rule of thumb for starting a descent on a cross country flight is to use a 3-degree descent angle. To find out your top of descent for a 3-degree descent is to divide the altitude you need to lose by 300.

So, if you are at 8,000 feet and need to descend to a pattern altitude of 2,000 feet, take the difference of 6,000 and divide by 300 to get a distance of 20 miles. You should start your descent no later than this.


Become a Private Pilot and Earn Your Coin

At Aviation Academy we reward our students throughout their journey to celebrate their flying accomplishments. Earn your challenge coin when you attend our school. Challenge coins have historically been used to represent a membership into an exclusive organization and are used to recognize individuals who have faced and overcame certain challenges. Earn your coin and become a member of the exclusive group of private pilots.


For more tips like these make sure you are following our Facebook page.


How To Land Safely After a Spin

We are always striving to be an educational resource for our trainers and students. Being the only 141 part private flight school in Wichita, KS we need to do our part in sharing our knowledge and expertise on all things flying, to our community. At Aviation Academy, we guide you the whole way to the end goal of becoming a pilot. By continuing to maintain our high standards and graduation rates, we guarantee that our school will provide the best education and experience for your future as a pilot.

With our years of experience in flying, we have some helpful tips and tricks that we want to share. The first one starting with a spin.


What is a spin?

A spin is when the aircraft is stalled with one wing being more stalled than the other. The lower wing is more stalled than the high wing and causes more drag making the aircraft spin.

A spin is as an aggravated stall that results in what is termed “autorotation” wherein the airplane follows a downward corkscrew path. As the airplane rotates around a vertical axis, the rising wing is less stalled than the descending wing creating a rolling, yawing, and pitching motion. The airplane is basically being forced downward by gravity in a spiral path.


How do you recover from a spin?

To recover from a spin the most important thing is to break the stall. To break a stall, you must pitch down.

There is also an acronym to help remember every step of a spin recovery.


P-power to idle

A-ailerons neutral

R- rudder opposite of the spin

E-elevator forward

This will break the spin and help return the aircraft to a normal flight altitude. If you can’t remember every step, just remember to spin the aircraft it needs to be stalled. So, to stop the spin, pitch the nose down to break the stall.

Wanting to learn how to fly? Call Aviation Academy at 316-285-5413 or email us at