different types of aircraft deicing methods
Different Types of Aircraft Deicing Methods
The Federal Aviation Administration requires that all aircraft have ice built up on their wings and fuselages stripped off before takeoff. This is because ice, if not removed from the aircraft’s engine control surfaces, can negatively affect the handling characteristics of the aircraft and pose a safety hazard.
The best method for deicing an aircraft is simply to heat it up. Heated hangars can be kept at a temperature that melts ice, whereupon it can be wiped away with a towel. Afterwards, a thin coating of freezing point depressant (fluid) is applied to the aircraft’s wings to prevent ice from forming again during takeoff and flight. However, this space is often at a premium, and some smaller airports may not have any heated hangars available at all.
Another option for preventing ice buildup is using aircraft covers designed to shield the wings and other components vulnerable to ice build-up. These covers also have the advantage of being easy to store, and relatively inexpensive. However, icing can still occur between taking the covers off and take-off, so applying FPD liquid may still be necessary.
The final and most common method for deicing aircraft is using spray equipment that applies FPD liquids to the plane. Most airports provide portable spray equipment like pressurized containers and spray wands to apply de-icing liquid, which consists of ethylene glycol and propylene glycol. As the FPD melts ice however, it mixes with the water and dilutes. If the aircraft is on the ground for extended periods of time and waiting for takeoff, it may be necessary to apply additional coatings of FPD. Glycol is also toxic, much like the antifreeze in automobiles and refrigeration equipment, so safety precautions must be taken to prevent exposure.