Winter Flying Safety

In the winter, we all put forth extra efforts to secure our cars and vehicles so they are safe for driving. We spend extra time warming them up, removing snow or ice from the windshield as well as we check the weather forecast prior to driving anywhere to ensure we will have a safe trip. If you were to think of these same steps and replace your vehicle with an aircraft, there are many factors that the pilot and crew will need to consider. These factors range from aircraft preparation to the forecasted weather of the flight path.

Unfortunately, ice cannot be removed from an aircraft as easily as you can remove it from a car. Instead, we must use Type I De-Icing Fluid and Type IV Anti-Icing Fluid to properly prepare the aircraft for flight. These two fluids are applied by certified professionals who are trained to know when to use each fluid and are directed by the flight crew for specific instructions. If you are planning to fly this winter, you may find some of the following points interesting.

In general, De-Icing is the removal of snow, ice or frost from the surface of an aircraft. De-Icing fluid consists of a mixture of heated glycol and water and is orange in color. If there is accumulation of snow on the surface of the aircraft, Type I De-icing fluid is used to melt and “sweep’ the snow off of the surface. This will prepare the aircraft for a safe take off and flight.

Type IV Anti-Ice Fluid is used to prevent the build-up and accumulation of ice or snow as the aircraft takes off and continues to fly. This more concentrated fluid is a thicker substance because of the higher concentration of glycol, and will remain on the wings during takeoff and flight. Type IV is green in color and applied right before takeoff.

 Often times, aircraft are scheduled with back-to-back flights, limiting their time on the ground. This is known as a “quick turn”. In this case, both Type I and Type IV fluids would be applied as necessary. With the design of an aircraft in mind, it is crucial to ensure there is no additional weight from ice or snow that would affect the way it flies.

Here at Grand Aire, we are equipped with both De-Icing Fluid Type I and Anti-Icing Fluid Type IV. Our de-icing truck is capable of reaching heights of 50 feet so we can be prepared to service aircraft of any size 24/7/365. If your flight plan brings you North this winter, please consider Grand Aire for all of your FBO and de-icing needs!