Ice formation on aircraft can disrupt the smooth flow of air over the wings and prevent the aircraft from taking off or decrease the pilot's ability to maintain control of the aircraft. Taxi and landing operations can also be risky in winter weather. Despite a variety of technologies designed to prevent ice from forming on planes, as well as persistent efforts by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and other stakeholders to mitigate icing risks, icing remains a serious concern. As part of an ongoing review, this statement provides preliminary information on (1) the extent to which large commercial airplanes have experienced accidents and incidents related to icing and contaminated runways, (2) the efforts of FAA and aviation stakeholders to improve safety in icing and winter weather operating conditions, and (3) the challenges that continue to affect aviation safety in icing and winter weather operating conditions. GAO analyzed data obtained from FAA, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and others. GAO conducted data reliability testing and determined that the data used in this report were sufficiently reliable for our purposes. Further, GAO obtained information from senior FAA and NTSB officials, representatives of the Flight Safety Foundation, and representatives of some key aviation industry stakeholder organizations. GAO provided a draft of this statement to FAA, NTSB, and NASA and incorporated their comments where appropriate.
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