How We De-Ice Aircraft Before Takeoff

We don’t really think about it, but it’s amazing that we fly year-round. We fly in the heat of summer and in the cold of winter. And we do so safely and without worry. Most of the time at least. But if stop to think about it a bit, we’d realize that flying in the winter, when it’s so cold that water freezes to form snow and ice in seconds, is dangerous because just a bit of ice freezing on the wrong part of an engine could be disastrous.

When it’s below 0 degrees and freezing out, water droplets and moisture from the air can condense on the surface of aircraft and freeze, altering the airflow over the wing and tail of the aircraft and reducing the lift force required to the keep it airborne. The reduction of lift force can down a plane. Icing can also permanently damage parts. As a result, it’s important that an aircraft maintenance team knows how to de-ice and anti-ice, and has the proper equipment.

Of course, to melt ice, one could simply apply heat and move on. However, the much more common and recommended method is to use chemicals. Propylene glycol (PG) and ethylene glycol (EG) based solutions are widely used for de-icing. These compounds are generally sprayed onto the aircraft with especially nozzles and hoses specifically designed to apply certain types of fluids onto aircraft exteriors. The de-icing maintenance crew will also want to apply anti-icing compounds, a viscous fluid is commonly known as anti-ice fluid. Anti-ice fluid is applied onto the surface of the aircraft to absorb any contaminants such as water and ice. While not entirely effective, anti-icing can be very important to protect the aircraft.

Perhaps it’s a good thing that we don’t have reason to be afraid of traveling during the winter holiday season, that we don’t hesitate to fly out to see family hundreds of miles away or to escape the cold in more tropical climates. With companies like Aerospace Simplified, owned and operated by ASAP Semiconductor, being one of the premier suppliers of aerospace parts and components like hoses, nozzles, de-icing and anti-icing compounds, and aircraft exterior parts, we can travel easily. At Aerospace Simplified, their vast inventory and friendly staff make ordering parts simple and quick. For a quote or for more information, call +1-714-705-4780 or email


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