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"We are the protagonists of our stories called life, and there is no limit to how high we can fly."

PHD. MBA. MHS. Type rated on A350, A330, B777, B747-400, B747-200, B757, B767, B737, B727. International Airline Pilot / Author / Speaker. Dedicated to giving the gift of wings to anyone following their dreams. Supporting Aviation Safety through training, writing, and inspiration. Fighting for Aviation Safety and Airline Employee Advocacy. Safety Culture and SMS change agent.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Summer Ice?

How can this occur?

Last week I received a great question from my friend, Simon, in Tasmania. Simon says....

"I recently returned from a trip to Apia, Samoa. After boarding in Apia for our evening flight to Auckland, my seat-mate drew my attention to the wing of the 737-800. She was quite anxious, as she thought the discoloration on the wing might well be ice. Given that the outside temperature was 27'C, and the aircraft had been sitting on the tarmac for 50 minutes, ice was unlikely (to say the least). It was a clear evening as well, so there had been no rain in the vicinity of the airport. 
I couldn't really give an explanation as to what the white-ish areas were.. The main area seems to be towards the back of the wing, and the flaps. If anyone can help solve the mystery, I know it is you.. and my good friend has been worrying about this for the last 3 weeks! I know it is a very trivial question, so I say a huge thank-you in advance! :)
Thank-you again for your help.. and please feel free to chuckle as much as you want!

Best wishes from the West Coast of Tasmania.

Thanks again, Simon"
This is a GREAT question. No chuckling at all. 
Why do you think ice is forming 
in such warm temperatures (80.6 F)?
Enjoy the Journey!
XO Karlene 


  1. Replies
    1. Absolutely! Hard to believe that fuel in the tank can freeze moisture in the air... but that just shows how cold the inside of that tank is. Thanks for your reply!

  2. Thanks so much for explaining this so well Karlene. It really hadn't occurred to me that ice could form in such warm conditions.. but thinking about it, I realise that fuel freezes at a much lower temperature than water.. -60 or thereabouts? I imagine that wing tank has some VERY cold fuel in it after a flight! Thank-you again for explaining it so well.. and we are very much looking forward to reading 'Flight for Success'!

    1. Hi Simon, Thank you for the comment. Someone had written, curious how this could be on departure. Wouldn't the warm fuel being loaded warm that in the tank? But, they must have tankered fuel, and done a quick turn. Yes, -47 C... -57 F... but dependent upon density too. So those are ballpark numbers. I'm looking forward to you reading To Success too!!

  3. Replies
    1. To... For... as long as we can be the Captain of our lives!! Thank you!!


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