AS9120B, ISO 9001:2015, and FAA AC 0056B ACCREDITED

Aircraft De-Icing: How Airplanes Are Protected in the Winter

Anyone who has woken up to snow outside their window knows just how beautiful winter weather can be. Nevertheless, it is clear that those very same snowflakes can also cause a lot of disturbance when it comes down to needing to leave your driveway. Similarly, in the world of aviation, winter landscapes are often breathtaking to fly over, but the frigid temperatures behind them tend to pose significant challenges for aircraft operations. For this reason, one of the most important aspects of this to consider is aircraft de-icing.

As one of the key processes which aircraft operators need to be aware of, de-icing ensures that planes are free from ice and snow accumulation. Without it, the buildup of snow and ice can have a serious impact on the plane’s overall performance and safety. Therefore, it is important for plane owners and operators alike to understand how this process works. In the following paragraphs, we will explore the various processes involved in keeping airplanes safe when temperatures drop.

While there are many variations to the procedure, all de-icing methods include two main components: the de-icing system and the anti-icing system. Of these two components, the de-icing system is responsible for removing ice that has already formed on the aircraft surfaces, while the anti-icing system prevents the formation of ice during flight. With this intended purpose, de-icing systems often include devices such as heated leading edges and wing surfaces, as well as blade de-icing systems for propellers.

Aside from using heat to de-ice surfaces, aircraft are also frequently sprayed with de-icing agents, which are chemical substances used to melt or prevent the formation of ice. One commonly used de-icing agent is antifreeze, a liquid which contains chemicals like ethylene or propylene glycol. As a result of having a very low freezing point, antifreeze can be heated and mixed with water to melt away any buildup of ice and snow that has collected on surfaces. Because these chemicals can sometimes be corrosive to certain materials, the de-icing fluid is carefully selected to ensure the fluid will not cause any damage to aircraft surfaces.

Regardless of which methods are followed, every aircraft de-icing process follows a few key steps. First, once it has been determined that an aircraft needs to be de-iced, the plane is taken to a designated de-icing area at the airport. Then, trained personnel equipped with specialized equipment are responsible for carrying out the de-icing procedure. In particular, the de-icing agents, usually in the form of heated fluids, are applied to the aircraft's wings, tail, and other critical surfaces.

After the de-icing process is over, the aircraft moves on to the anti-icing phase. This phase usually involves the application of anti-icing fluids, which are similar to de-icing fluids but with different properties. These fluids create a thin protective layer that ensures the aircraft remains ice-free during its time in the air. It is important to note that the de-icing process is time-sensitive. Once an aircraft is de-iced, it needs to take off within a specific timeframe to minimize the chances of ice re-accumulating. As such, if there are significant delays, the aircraft may need to be de-iced again before departure.

Altogether, aircraft de-icing is a critical process that uses a few separate elements to help keep an aircraft working at its best. That said, if you are in need of aircraft de-icing equipment to aid your operations, you can rely on Stacked Aerospace with our inventory of more than 2 billion new, used, obsolete, and hard-to-find parts, including a large inventory of aircraft equipment essentials. To begin the purchasing process on any items of interest, simply submit a Request for Quote (RFQ) form from our website, and expect to receive a competitive quote for your comparisons in 15 minutes or less!



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