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6 Reasons Why Taking Off With Frost On Your Wings Can Be Deadly

Have you seen frost on your grass or rooftop yet this year? If you have, it means you need to be looking for it on your plane as well...

1) Frost the size of a grain of salt, distributed as sparsely as one per square centimeter over a wing's surface, can destroy enough lift to prevent your plane from taking off.

2) Small patches of ice or frost on your wings can result in asymmetrical stalls, resulting in roll control problems during takeoff.


3) Frost can reduce your wing's max lift by 30 percent or more.

4) It can also reduce your wing's critical angle-of-attack by several degrees.


5) Because frost disrupts airflow over your entire aircraft, it can increase drag by up to 40%.


6) In the past 10 years, there have been over 30 general aviation accidents related to aircraft taking off with frost. The FAA says it's likely that each accident could have been prevented by removing frost from the airplane.


Sources: FAA, NTSB

Colin Cutler

Colin is a Boldmethod co-founder, pilot and graphic artist. He's been a flight instructor at the University of North Dakota, an airline pilot on the CRJ-200, and has directed development of numerous commercial and military training systems. You can reach him at

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