Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Aviation Systems

Major Professor

Borja Martos

Committee Members

John Muratore, Dr. Peter Solies


Through its recommendations, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has helped the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) introduce regulations that have helped to curtail icing accidents1 (an occurrence associated with the operation of an aircraft where as a result of the operation of an aircraft, any person receives fatal or serious injury or any aircraft receives substantial damage) and incidents1 (an occurrence, other than an accident, associated with the operation of an aircraft that affects or could affect the safety of operations). However, "the only acceptable safety goal of zero accident," proposed by former Secretary of Transportation, Federico Fabian Pena, has not materialized. The aviation industry each year experiences more accidents and incidents. Steven D. Green of Flight Operations Research, Underhill, Vermont, researched US inflight icing accidents and incidents from 1978 to 2005.3 Using the NTSB online database, he observed that 645 accidents and incidents occurred in the US from 1978 to 2005. He identified another 299 incidents in the NASA Aviation Safety Reporting System (ASRS) reports during the same period. The purpose of this thesis is to update and expand upon Mr. Green's research by studying US inflight icing accidents and incidents from 2006 to 2010. The NTSB and ASRS databases were respectively, the primary means of obtaining accident and incident reports. The databases revealed 228 icing related accidents and 30 inflight icing related incidents from 2006 to 2010. Forty of the accidents were related to inflight icing occurring on the wings, fuselage or control surfaces.From all of the reports sampled it was determined that an aircraft in cruise is more likely to accrete ice than in any other phase of flight. Furthermore, aircraft in cruise are more prone toVIinflight icing during instrument meteorological conditions (IMC) than in visual meteorological conditions (VMC). Throughout this report there did not appear to be a direct correlation between the number of flights and inflight icing accidents or incidents. Additionally, it was determined that icing events depended more upon the ice protection system (IPS) equipment, its use and effectiveness, as well as the management of ice accretion by the aircrew

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