CAT File No. C-1253-02
MoT File No. RAP 6504-P319842-027717



Massimo Santarossa, Applicant

- and -

Minister of Transport, Respondent

Aeronautics Act, R.S.C., 1985, c. A-2, s. 6.9
Air Regulations, C.R.C. 1978, c. 2, s. 540.2(2)

Ice on critical surfaces of an aircraft

Review Determination
Philip D. Jardim

Decision: June 21, 1996


A Review Hearing on the above matter was held Wednesday, June 19, 1996 at 10:00 hours at the Court House, in Kenora, Ontario.


On December 14, 1995, Capt. Massimo Santarossa was pilot-in-command of Beechcraft Travelaire C-GQQC. He did a visual contact approach and landed at Kenora at 0107 hours GMT after a flight from Dryden. There was light snow at the field, and the temperature was -10°C, with a surface wind of 280/08 G15, with drifting snow. Capt. Santarossa observed that there was a buildup of rime ice on the critical surfaces of the aircraft, and set about a de-icing and anti-icing procedure. He was offered help by the Shell representative, but declined, opting to do it himself.

Based on the reports from two key witnesses, via the Flight Service Manager at Kenora, Transport Canada carried out an investigation and suspended Capt. Santarossa's Commercial Pilot Licence for 7 days as stated in the following Notice of Suspension:

Pursuant to section 6.9 of the Aeronautics Act, the Minister of Transport has decided to suspend the above indicated Canadian aviation document on the grounds that you have contravened the following provision(s):

Air Regulation 540.2(2) in that, at approximately 0129 hours U.T.C. on December 15, 1995 at or near Kenora, Ontario, you did unlawfully take off in an aircraft, to wit, Beech D95A, registration C-GQQC, when frost, ice or snow was adhering to the critical surfaces of the aircraft.

Capt. Santarossa requested a Review Hearing before the Tribunal, which is the subject of this review determination.


Subsection 540.2(2) of the Air Regulations states:

(2) No person shall take off or attempt to take off in an aircraft that has frost, ice or snow adhering to any of its critical surfaces.


Capt. Santarossa testified that he used a two-stage process, first removing the ice with hot water obtained from the Transport Canada garage, followed by spraying the aircraft's critical surfaces with a hot solution of type 1 ethylene glycol from a pressurized spray can which he carried on board the aircraft. He satisfied himself that the aircraft was properly de-iced and proceeded briefly into the airport building. He then returned to the aircraft, stowed his anti-icing sprayer in the aircraft and returned the 5-gallon bucket to the TC garage. He did a pre-flight inspection of the aircraft, satisfied himself that it was safe and departed 21 minutes after landing.

Mr. Brian Kardal, the supervisor of the TC garage, testified that, at some time while the aircraft was on the ramp, he came out to see what had happened to his 5-gallon bucket and found it alongside of C-GQQC, together with a pressurized spray can. He said that while he was there he felt the undersurface of the right wing and felt what he judged to be globules of ice about 18 inches aft of the leading edge. He did not see or notice ice anywhere else on the aircraft. He could not say whether this was before or after Capt. Santarossa had carried out his de-icing/anti-icing procedures, but was concerned enough that he went inside and reported the matter to the Flight Service Manager. He said that he did not actually see ice, but felt what he judged to be ice on the lower surface of the right wing near the wing tip.

In response to questions as to whether he might have felt hemispherically headed rivets instead of ice, Mr. Kardal was adamant that it was ice that he had felt. Mr. Kardal did not speak to Capt. Santarossa.

The Shell representative, Mr. Maurice Nadon, had offered assistance on the arrival of the aircraft, which was declined. He testified that, when he subsequently returned to the aircraft, he saw ice on the leading edges of both wings, on the spinners and on the windscreen. He also does not know whether the second time he saw the aircraft was after Capt. Santarossa had de-iced it. Mr. Nadon said that, the second time he saw the aircraft, there was less ice on it than when he had first seen it. Between his visits to the aircraft, he had been de-icing Bearskin Airlines aircraft which he said had been heavily encrusted with ice, more so than the Travelaire. He was concerned enough that he went into the terminal to offer his services at no charge to the pilot, but on not finding him, he reported the matter to the Flight Service Manager. He said that a short time later the aircraft departed Kenora. Although the bucket of hot water and the glycol spray tank were observed near to the aircraft, neither witness actually saw when the aircraft was being de-iced.


Both Messrs. Nadon and Kardal have been trained in aircraft de-icing and anti-icing procedures, and are critically aware of the dangers of ice accretion on aircraft, especially following the Air Ontario Dryden incident. They both alluded to the fact that this tragedy had made them, more than ever, critically aware of this problem.

While I find the evidence of the two key witnesses for the Minister highly credible and responsible, and I share their concern, they did not actually see the aircraft depart Kenora with ice on its critical surfaces.

It is clear to me that Capt. Santarossa did carry out de-icing and anti-icing procedures on his aircraft that night. It is my impression and opinion that he is well trained and has a responsible attitude towards flying. I consider from the evidence presented that his airmanship is of a high order. Therefore, I find that, on a balance of probabilities, Capt. Santarossa diligently removed the ice from the critical surfaces of his aircraft that night, applied anti-icing glycol fluid to the airframe, and departed expeditiously within the "hold-over" period of the glycol application. He testified that on take-off he observed the glycol streaming back from the leading edge of the wings, which is an indication that the fluid was being effective in preventing the accretion of further ice. I also believe that Capt. Santarossa did a thorough job in removing the ice from the aircraft while it was on the ground.

At the request of Mr. Joseph Barnsley, Counsel for Mr. Santarossa, all present at the hearing visited Kenora airport to view a Beechcraft Baron which has a similar planform to the Travelaire. Mr. Barnsley's prime purpose in requesting the view was to show that water poured onto the wing would fall off it within the confines of the de-icing boot, and would not flow back onto the metal surface where it might freeze. He was seeking to counter Mr. Kardal's evidence as to having felt ice globules under the wing. Capt. Santarossa demonstrated his de-icing procedure on this aircraft, and Mr. Fred Pratt had his key witnesses describe their observations on which they had given evidence. Water was poured onto the wing of the Baron, and it surprised Mr. Barnsley that it ran under the wing, well aft of the point at which he said a similar exercise carried out in Winnipeg had done on the actual aircraft, C-GQQC, the Travelaire. I did not find this exercise contributed to Mr. Barnsley's case, except that incidentally, it did give Capt. Santarossa an opportunity to demonstrate how he had de-iced the aircraft that night. I was impressed that he knew what he was about.


I find that the Minister's case against Capt. Santarossa has not been proven because:

1. Neither key witness actually saw the aircraft depart with ice on its critical surfaces. They both testified that they did not know whether the ice they had seen and/or felt on the aircraft had actually been removed by Mr. Santarossa before he departed. Further, neither witness actually saw Capt. Santarossa carrying out his de-icing/anti-icing procedure.

2. Capt. Santarossa did carry out de-icing and anti-icing procedures on the aircraft that night and, on a balance of probabilities, I believe that he did so diligently so as to remove all ice from the critical surfaces of the aircraft, and to apply anti-icing fluid to prevent further accretion of ice prior to and during his take-off from Kenora that night.

I therefore set aside and cancel the penalty imposed on Capt. Santarossa by the Minister.

Philip Jardim
Civil Aviation Tribunal