This last weekend I planned a flight from Galesburg Airport KGBG to DeKalb KDKB, which is just south east of Rockford, (for those of you who know the Chicago area.) I tryed my best to plan it so I wouldn’t be in those gusty 40 knot plus winds which consumed most of the mid-west this last weekend, but I was pretty limited due to avaliblility on rentals.
Anyway, me and another fraternity brother hopped in the C172 after the wx brief and set off for DeKalb. It was suppost to be pretty marginal VFR for the expected time of arrival, with conditions becoming IFR shortly after. Finally after a squabble with ATC due to my flight plan getting lost in the system I was cleared with via an abbriviated flight plan to KDKB.
About 15 minutes in we were above an overcast cloud deck and they started desending us for DKB. As we are thick in the soup ATC then tells us that contrary to no notams the NDB 27 app. was closed pending FAA approval. I somewhat expected this, as I called the dekalb fbo ahead of time to see if there were any important notices that didn’t make it in the notams, (as i’ve had several past incounters with important information being unpublished) I was told that the ndb may be out of service. I was also told it “could just be their ADF in the cessna trainer”, so it was pretty much hit or miss with the approach.
Being on steam guages and no IFR gps I decided to try a contact approach before residing to the alternate. The lowest ATC could clear me was 2400 and for awhile. I could see the ground and thought I would for sure have the airport made. Unfortuneately I was greeted with lower bases only 1 1/2 miles from the field. Thick in the soup I told ATC we’d try Rockford.
Here and there (with pitot heat on) I would glance at the struts and see if there was any ice build-up, but it remained almost perfectly clear. I was finally on with Rockford approach and was receiving vectors for the ILS 01 with circle for RWY25 when I looked at the leading wing edge through the foremost part of the windshield. I had about 1/4 to 1/2 an inch of mixed ice and it was quickly building. I informed Rockford I had moderate mixed with it building, so they moved me to first in line for the approach. I did the apprach with no problem, but I’m not sure I would’ve had any second chances on it. After landing, and cleaning up my puddle in the seat I took a look and the prop, wheels, and entire wings which were completely covered.
I have most of my 400 hours in Piper Warriors and Archers (which are low wing) so I can see any accumulation clearly. I’ve always been told by multiple sources first signs of ice in a highwing will be on the wind struts, fuel drain, and any small protruding objects. **However, in this case there was no noticeable ice on the struts. **And if I would’ve saw a buildup that large sooner I probably would have diverted back to GBG where I could remain clear of IMC or have had Rockford keep me on top of the clouds instead of in them all the way from dekalb. **Also, I’ve heard under some conditions ice CAN sublimate off of the wing, but I am not sure when. **
All in all I can chalk it up as a good learning experience. It definately helped that my CFI home in Waukesha, WI is one who is not afraid of teaching in hard IMC and narly cross winds. I have even had the oppertunity of dealing with light unexpected icing with him on acouple other occasions so it definately helped me out in this situation. Thanks to good training everything worked out.