Aurigny ice flight was captain’s call

A SERIES of events that led to an Aurigny flight being forced to re-route in freezing conditions ‘could have been avoided’, an investigation has found.

Picture By Mike Steadman. 23-11-15 Aurigny ATR G-COBO has been repainted.
Picture by Mike Stedman

The Manchester to Guernsey flight on 4 March 2016 had to divert to East Midlands Airport after ice contamination made the aircraft temporarily difficult to control.

The ATR aircraft, registration G-COBO, was flown to Manchester from Guernsey and remained on the ground for more than an hour while it was snowing and the temperature was zero.

Despite these conditions, the captain opted not to de-ice the aircraft prior to departure.

A report by the Air Accident Investigation Branch concluded that the incident could have been prevented had the aircraft been de-iced.

‘The investigation concluded that ice contamination affected the tailplane and caused pitch control difficulty after the aircraft rotated, on departure,’ it said.

‘The evidence indicated that this would have been avoided if the aircraft had been de-iced and then inspected carefully before flight.

‘The commander optimistically thought that lying snow would blow off the aircraft before rotation; an assessment that was flawed and a possible reflection on the training the pilots had received for such winter conditions.

‘The operator has recognised that recurrent winter training for pilots may have been over-reliant on self-study and has taken remedial action.’

Comments for: "Aurigny ice flight was captain’s call"

Rupert Walthumstow

So Aurigny makes a £4m loss and even then can't manage to train their pilots properly!


What happened to Pre flight check by the Captain, was it too cold for him ?


Much more detail is in the AAIB report -


This has to be individual error as well as corporate error. So I'd like to know who endangered these passengers. Name and shame.



The scary thing is it sounds like the same thing happened to the same plane in December too...


I understand that it can cost well over £1000 just for the solution to de-ice a moderate sized prop. A serious consideration for Aurigny and the Captain?


I was just reading a US commercial pilots blog about de-icing

"My disdain for the process in no way influences my decision whether or not to de-ice. It is illegal and unsafe to takeoff with frozen precipitation on the aircraft.

14 CFR 121.629: No person may take off an aircraft when frost, ice, or snow is adhering to the wings, control surfaces, propellers, engine inlets, or other critical surfaces of the aircraft…

Let me just sum it up for you: “Deicing is a pain in the ass.” "


So it may be a pain in the butt but if it's illegal not to de-ice in the US it probably is here too. That being the case I think Aurigny should make an appropriate statement on the matter. I should mention that I am huge Aurigny fan and fly with them regularly and always in preference to any other airline.


The AAIB report makes for interesting reading - the Aurigny flight was the only one that morning not to request deicing before leaving the stand. Most people with an interest in aviation are aware of the icing issues suffered by the ATR72/42 family so for the Captain not to request deicing, in my humble opinion, was frankly reckless.

Trevor Hockey


To be fair, the other planes had been on the ground overnight whereas

G-COBO was doing a turnaround.

Don Tramp

Trouble is Airline pilots are being paid less and less eventually perhaps not much more than a train driver.


Don to Don,Would you not say that a traindriver is just as important as a Pilot?That a plumber or other tradesman is just as important as a doctor or a lawyer,or am I all mixed up?


I think the main point is not importance but the skills needed. It's undeniably harder to fly a plane than to drive a train, and potentially more hazardous, so it takes much longer to learn.