3. Aircraft and ground maintenance questionnaire.
Part A of the aircraft and ground maintenance questionnaire elicits informa-
tion on one measure of icing impact, the frequency of aircraft being grounded as
a result of icing. Both ground icing (snow or ice on the aircraft before flight) and
in-flight icing (actual or forecast) are covered by the one question. The question-
naire results are summarized in Table 8; a compilation of results by unit is given
in Appendix F, which includes respondents' written comments.
The majority of units report that their aircraft are never or rarely grounded
because of icing (Table 8). Within Germany, only three units out of 15 experi-
ence more frequent occurrences of aircraft being grounded; the units reporting
monthly or weekly groundings are ones whose aircraft are not hangared. In
Korea, two out of six units experience weekly (or bi-weekly) aircraft groundings;
one of those units, however, is represented by two independent questionnaire
responses, one of which indicates that aircraft groundings occur rarely, the other
which indicates that they occur weekly. The frequency of groundings (rarely vs.
monthly or weekly) at Fort Drum and at Fort Campbell depends on the unit
reporting. There are weekly groundings at Forts Sheridan and Wainwright, and at
the National Guard facility in Indiana.
Whether groundings occur frequently enough to be considered a problem
depends jointly on the weather and the facilities at a location. In Korea, all units
contend with insufficient hangar space to shelter all their aircraft from snow and
ice events (Aircraft and ground maintenance questionnaire, Part B, "how are
aircraft on the ground protected from the accumulation of snow or ice?"). It
varies by unit whether aircraft parked on the flight line are protected with covers
(e.g., canopy, blade). Although aircraft are exposed to ground icing, the icing
events are either not numerous enough or not severe enough to cause more than
occasional grounding in Korea.
If hangar space is not available, the effort to keep aircraft flyable during
ground icing events is significant. The 421st MEDEVAC Battalion in Wies-
baden, Germany, typically moves its aircraft into the hangar the night prior to
scheduled flights. Emergency response aircraft, however, are not hangared; they
are continually brushed of accumulating snow and are sprayed with anti-ice fluid,
if necessary. The unit notes that using anti-ice fluid is not the preferred method
of keeping its aircraft free of ice because of potential damage to electrical compo-
nents and other materials.