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Winter Services Vehicles: De-Icers Make Airplanes Safe to Fly!

Do you know about de-icing machines and how they work to remove and prevent ice build-up on aircraft so that they can continue to fly? Read this article to find out how the de-icing process works to keep the airline industry flying their passengersDuring the winter season, it is imperative that airplanes should undergo an aircraft de-icing process. This is a basic airline safety procedure. This scientific process is essential in removing existing ice and preventing water droplets from crystallizing that could cause physical and mechanical damage to the aircraft. De-icing is performed to be certain that the openings of all turbine engines are free from any snow or frozen water which could impede the normal engine function.
How Any Wintry Mix Affects the Aircraft
Primarily, the formation of ice on the aircraft wings and body will affect the ability of the airplane’s airfoil to initiate lift and would increase air resistance. It can accumulate on the turbine’s inlet, wings, propeller, windshields, vents and any such opening. This collection of frozen water will also affect significantly the aircraft sensors. When this wintry residue forms and collects on the wings of the plane, it will affect the airflow and could cause a negative effect on the overall performance of the aircraft while flying.
How to Remove Ice before Take-off
Today, airplanes have equipment to allow them to fly into potential icing conditions without too much danger. This will not, however, adequately remove frozen water that has formed while the aircraft is sitting on the ground. To help during a long flight in problematic winter weather conditions, it is imperative to remove the existence of snow or ice on the surface of the aircraft before the flight begins. Therefore, the process of de-icing is performed. It is through this method that ice buildup is prevented from adhering to the surface of the airplane before the take-off.
How the De-icing Process Works
De-icing is done by spraying pre-heated anti-ice fluids on the airplane’s surface through the use of de-icers. These fluids interfere with the bond between the aircraft’s surface and the snow or frozen water. De-icers are commonly contained in a tanker truck that holds such fluids. The solution is composed of a chemical (propylene glycol) that decreases the crystallization point of water. The de-icing fluid is sprayed and enhanced high pressure and high velocity stream sprayers not only remove any existing ice but also apply a thin layer of the fluid as a deterrent for further build-up for a period of time long enough to allow for take-off.
How the De-icing Vehicle Works
A de-icer is a vehicle that combines a tanker truck with a bucket truck. The tanker is needed to hold the concentrated de-icing fluid. This liquid is then mixed with a percentage of water that is dependent upon the outside ambient temperature and then sprayed through a large tube all over the aircraft. It is said that this procedure can be accomplished on even a 737 aircraft in under 10 minutes!
The way this works is that the anti-ice fluids are stored inside the storage tank of this combination tanker and bucket truck. The tank has an opening (valve) at the bottom of the storage tank. The tanker has a heater that rapidly heats the chemicals to a certain temperature that ranges between 160 and 180 degrees Fahrenheit. When the liquid is heated to the desired temperature, the valve is opened and the pre-heated combination of anti-ice fluid and water is sprayed out of the tank through the valve.
Essential Service to the Aircraft
De-icing is very essential in the removal and the prevention of any type of frozen water build-up. This technique ensures that the airplane is safe to fly in any icy weather conditions. When any frozen wintry mix is forming, prompt action is required to prevent the delay of the flight and prevent any further build-up during the flight. Every airline has safety programs in place to assure the safe travel of its aircraft during the winter months. This is thanks to the performance of the hard-working de-icing vehicle; this vehicle makes airplanes safe to fly during wintry weather! Continue reading

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