Did You Know Why Aircraft De-icing is Important?

2018-02-14

As winter winds bring in snow and ice, most of us know that it means getting up earlier in the morning in order to scrape off the ice from the car and get ready for the slow traffic. Just as we prep our cars, the same goes with aircraft. Airports and aircraft need to deal with the hazards of ice, snow, storm, and hail even more cautiously. Why is it important?

To prevent a build-up of snow and ice on the wings and tail of an aircraft is crucial for a safe take-off. An aircraft’s wings and rear tail are engineered in a specific shape in order to provide a proper lift off. If snow or ice accumulates on these parts of the aircraft, it changes their shape and ads on extra weight. This way it disrupts the airflow across the surface, hence, making it unfit to safely take off. It can also disrupt the movement of the wing’s flaps and ailerons.

Source: aerosavvy.com

If the necessary preparations would be ignored, an unfortunate accident might occur. One example of a crash was due to pilot error ignoring de-icing instructions and other safety precautions. It happened in 13th of January, 1982, when Air Florida flight failed to gain altitude on takeoff, stalled, hit a bridge and crashed. It was due to pilots failing to turn on the engines’ internal ice protection systems, and after the crash, it was investigated that the monopropylene glycol to water ratio was diluted to 18 percent, instead of the recommended 30 percent mixture.

If you want to learn more on how to de-ice an aircraft, you can read it in our previous Did You Know https://www.baatraining.com/did-you-know-how-aircraft-de-icing-works/

References: https://jalopnik.com/how-and-why-we-de-ice-aircraft-before-takeoff-1657914108

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