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02 December 2008


I became acutely aware of carb icing about fifteen years back when a colleague in my flying syndicate wrote-off our Piper Cherokee while doing the (then) compulsory 5 take-offs and landings to maintain his Night Rating.

Fortunately, nobody was hurt in the crash and his injuries mainly arose from the response of the other syndicate members (only joking!!).

Apparently, Lycoming engines of the time were particularly susceptible to carb icing and I read a couple of articles which suggested that anything less than about 30 seconds of carb heat was ineffective.

This was quite a revelation as I was originally taught, on Cherokees, to apply carb heat in 5 second bursts.

For members of the Aeroclub de Limoges, another good solution (much as I love the Robins) is to fly the Diamond Star DA40 which doesn't have a carburettor.

PS During my PPL training, quite a lot of time was spent on engine failure practice, including the selection of a suitable field for landing.

However, when I did the Night Rating, the fact that you couldn't actually see the fields until virtually on top of them was left, kind of, unaddressed.

I always wonder why so many modern aircraft still use carburettors, when highly reliable fuel injection systems are readily available. You won't find a car on the road under 10 years old with a carburettor, and the top end models had them 20 years ago, so why are aircraft engines still routinely fitted with them ?

I agree with you Clive it is time to move forwards.
I believe that the modern light aircraft ( ie microlights) have a system which prevents carburretor icing but we have to wait for it to be certified by the CAA before it can be fitted to our aircraft.

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