There’s virtually no substitute for Cessna’s Model 208 Caravan as an economical, high-volume utility airplane. That’s why it was a shock to the industry when the FAA considered revoking the Caravan’s “known ice” certification. After becoming indispensable as a small-package workhorse and charter/backcountry passenger transport, a terrible trend began to develop: Caravans were crashing after encountering icing conditions. The FAA threatened to pull the 208’s certification for flight in icing unless industry figured out how to reverse the trend. Somebody had to save the Caravan. What operators, Cessna and the FAA did may change the way we all think about icing certification. The Regional Air Cargo Carriers Association ( represents light package carriers usually certificated under FAR Part 135, including over 50 operators of more than 1000 Caravans on contract to FedEx, UPS, DHL and the U.S. Postal Service. Association President Stan Bernstein readily notes the Caravan’s history shows a “tendency to get in trouble in icing,” a trend that became “worrisome” and “troubled our industry.” Accidents involved pilots from entry-level new hires to the most experienced pilots, dispelling an initial reaction that only low-time pilots were getting in over their head in weather—”even experienced pilots were getting into icing trouble.


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