Because of the accident record, the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) sent a letter to the FAA suggesting a temporary restriction on Cessna’s single-engine turboprop, the Cessna 208 Caravan, from flying into any known icing conditions worse than light icing. Now, the Canadian Transportation Safety Board (TSB) has issued a communiqué making the same suggestion (via aviation.ca). So far, the FAA, who has the final say for the American-certified plane, has not agreed.
The FAA is in a tight bind here. Many small freight and charter operations that used to fly twins (like the Piper Navajo) switched to the single-engine Caravan to save money because, like the piston twins, the Caravan is certified for flight into known icing conditions. Some of these operations might not be financially viable if they have to go back to the higher cost of twins, and all of them will be forced to sell Caravans at the same time into what will be a very depressed market.
The immediate impetus for this double pressure on the FAA is the fatal crash of a Caravan in Winnipeg in October 2005. John, a Caravan pilot himself, blogs about that crash here. For more information from the perspective of a freight dog flying a Caravan in icing conditions, read John’s other postings over at Freight Dog Tales.