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Frequently Asked Questions

Why is deicing important for an airplane?

Deicing an airplane is crucial for a safe take-off. A plane's wings and critical flight surfaces are engineered with a very specific shape in order to provide proper lift for flight. Snow and ice on these areas in essence changes their shape and disrupts the airflow across the surface, hindering the ability to create lift.

How are aircraft deiced?

The glycol is used in different formulations for different weathers. It is heated and sprayed over an airplane to remove snow, ice or frost. Speed and thoroughness are essential in the application process. 

What is the difference in the colors of the deicing fluids used?

Designed to meet SAE Type I and AMS 1424 specifications for deicing aircraft, Type I deicing fluid, dyed orange/red, is made predominantly from glycol. Type II, III & IV meet SAE Type IV and AMS 1428 specifications for deicing aircraft with the intention of ice retardation. These fluids are thicker than Type I so that it stays on the plane to actively prevent ice build-up during take off. Type II is yellow, Type III is bright yellow and Type IV is green, for easy identification.

What is the impact of the products used for deicing an aircraft on the environment?

Ethylene/propylene glycol-based fluids are the primary aircraft anti-icing/deicing fluids used at Airports. Due to the toxicity of the additives to anti-icing/deicing fluids and the oxygen limiting activity of ethylene/propylene glycol, significant efforts are required to control the release of stormwater mixed with aircraft anti-icing/deicing fluids.

What is used to remove the snow and ice?

Deicing fluid, a mixture of a chemical called glycol and water, is generally heated and sprayed under pressure to remove ice and snow on the aircraft.

How cold does it get at 35,000 feet?

How cold is it up there? The higher you get, the colder it gets, up until 40,000 feet. If the temperature at ground level was 20°C, at 40,000 feet it would be -57°C. At 35,000 feet the air temperature is about -54°C.

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