“Winter is coming”, Game of Thrones infamous motto from House Stark is used to instill the characters and audience with a sense of dread for the oncoming winter and the threats that come with it. Well, it instills a sense of dread in the real world, beyond the television screens, too. For most pilots, wintertime can be a little scary.
Flying in the winter, when the temperature is below freezing, brings with it the threat of icing. The icing is when a layer of ice and sleet forms around the exterior of an aircraft. While this is expected on the ground, it can also happen mid-flight. While ice and sleet seem harmless, they can actually damage the aircraft, ruin the aerodynamics of an aircraft, and actually create potentially disastrous scenarios. That’s why it’s important to de-ice. But how does de-icing work?
One of the first ways to approach de-icing systems is the pre-bath prep. Spray the aircraft with compressed air to free the exterior of snow, ice, or sleet that cling to the wings, tail, nose, and engine intake. Afterward, prepare a de-icing fluid bath. A type-1 de-icing solution made of water and propylene glycol is perfect for light snow and ice. For heavier snowfall, type-4 de-icing solutions made of 100% propylene glycol is best.
After the aircraft is bathed and allowed to dry, pilots and maintenance crew can choose to put on de-icing boots, which are ideal in inclement weather. Generally installed on the leading edges of the aircraft wings, they are thick rubber bands that are inflated and deflated to loosen any ice that accumulates on these surfaces. Of course, the de-icing boots should be regularly inspected and maintained. Even the smallest scratches can lead to leaks, which would decrease their efficacy. Larger airliners and military aircraft tend to have heating systems equipment integrated inside the wings instead of using a boot.
ASAP Sourcing Solutions, owned and operated by ASAP Semiconductor, is a leading supplier of parts and components for the aerospace, aviation, and defense industries. With a wide variety of aviation de-icing solutions to choose from and 24/7x365 customer service, we can always help you find all the parts you need, new or obsolete. For a quote, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at +1-412-212-0606.