Flying cancelled because it’s a bit chilly

AEF flying at Cranwell this weekend has been cancelled because it is forecast to drop to 1 degree C.

  1. What would be the reason for this?
  2. Are the other AEF’s canning it because it’s a bit chilly?
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Icing of the wings or the runway?


Anyone who has been to 7AEF at cranwell knows how dilapidated & cold the AEF building is especially the Porter cabin you wait to go up in.

No heating during the night & exposed to the elements it’s pretty cold in summer let alone in this weather.

Completely understand them cancelling it (that’s before you get to the fact the roof of one of the buildings has been replaced with just a tent)


Wings possibly but runway and taxiway tackled by gritting…although does that then pose a FOD risk from prop wash?

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Not being a 24/7 airfield, no need for runway de-icing at the weekend in particular. RAF has only seven 24/7 airfields at Coningsby, Brize, Odiham, Benson, Northolt and Lossie.

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Couldn’t fly the Robin at Syerston this morning until the runway had defrosted.

It’ll be ice.

Ice on the apron and runway probably. Aircraft themselves are kept in the hangar so won’t frost, and on a clear day they also are unlikely to frost as they don’t fly in cloud.

Or a footpath has ice on it, health and safety bod will have kittens.

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Isn’t that same location for the C&E X-county this weekend that’s also canned :man_shrugging:t2:

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It hasn’t defrosted here in 2 days.

Gritting on an airfield. That would be novel.

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Few reasons.

Icing on runways- Most runways, unless on the frontline, aren’t de-iced. You cannot grit a runway due to FOD. It would destroy engines and propellers.

Icing. As we all know, if you bring something out of a warmish environment into a freezing environment, condensation forms and thus ice. Aircraft are the same especially when fuelled. Tutors do not have any form of de-icing and engineers are not able to scape ice off as this damages the gelcoat.

Something also to remember regarding the weather is although it may be above freezing at ground level, once airborne the air gets colder. As an example, we had a severe ice warning at altitudes above 500ft. If a Tutor took off in that scenario, ice would form on the wings instantly leading to loss of lift.

On Wednesday our airfield temp was -7.

Hope this helps.


Personally can’t see the problem with cancelling.

Better that than not, then getting the cadets full of anticipation at the sqn at daft o’clock calling the AEF en route to find out its cancelled, or, worse, travelling and find out it’s binned when you get there.
For us an AEF trip is 2½-3 hrs each way, so cancelled in advance gets my vote, having done the trip being told it’s all cushty, spending an hour for lunch and bogs and coming straight back.


I know this has been picked upon because 7AEF have highlighted the cancellation, but over the years, how many slots have been cancelled due to ice :man_shrugging:t2:

In clear air???

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It depends on many more factors. It was, for example, much cheaper commercially to pay for overnight hangarage in Stockholm & avoid a de-ice (even just for frost).

It depends again on several factors & limitations as specified in the aircraft flight manual - for example, post-flight underwing frost might be acceptable - moreover, depending on fuel tank position & amount being fuelled, “warm” fuel can totally negate the need for a wing de-ice (done this lots of times) although the stabiliser needs to be checked / de-iced as appropriate.

In far east Siberia, I’ve operated at temperatures around -40C(!!), liquid de-icing is obviously not a player, they use a long “caterpillar” type brush on ropes to sweep the frost off - simple & effective.

A low-power infra-red heating system can be used for de-icing too, a bit greener than squirting hundreds of litres of de-icing fluid over everything for even a small commercial aircraft. Not used in so many places - need to ensure that flight control hinges / gaps don’t refreeze with the melted ice / frost.


I can’t really see the RAF paying for any of the above for a Tutor operation. They’d rather have them sit is their hangar until the temps warm up while the engineers drink tea :confounded:.

All joking aside, icing is pretty serious as you know and not something worth taking the risk over when flying cadets.


I was pointing out that “icing” is not as simple as you suggested - & plenty of ways to mitigate it or work around the situation.

I had to have my jet de-iced at Luton some years ago - they ran out of de-icing fluid, with an estimated 2 -3 hrs delay for re-supply & heat up in the trucks. That would have been close to temperatures dropping below freezing - end of the chance to launch out of Luton.

I used natural therms - 93 millions miles away :sun_with_face: - left-hand side of the aircraft had had all the snow melted off, right-hand side was still frozen. Some careful aircraft towing reversed the situation, snow melted / brushed off in 45 mins - with the help of a refuel too. Stabiliser checked, all OK, off we launched.

Just called 5AEF - their answer message said no flying on Thurs due to cold temperatures, so I’m not expected too much for our slots this Weds pm (overnight temp forecast to be -2C or so). :frowning:


Bit too far ahead to forecast what it’ll be doing in 5 days. Them Met man is good, but not that good.

We usually make a call the day before.

Well, my crystal ball has been correct more times than being wrong - up to a week ahead for flying / gliding slots. The ground will most likely be cold-soaked over the next few days, so frost / ice will probably be big factors.

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I was part of a medical flight crew on a Lear 35 at Oslo one cold morning, aircraft on the FBO ramp overnight, totally frosted up, ice everywhere. We opened up the aircraft, pilots started it up, cleared the cockpit windows and started to taxy, across the airfield, you could just see the taxyway lights until we reached the far side and on the parallel taxyway to the runway, and down to a massive de-icing ramp. Hot fluids on the aircraft, taxy forward turn tight and right again and off. So efficient.