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Deicing Fluids

January 13, 2014 | bevel wise

Deicing fluids suck. You think you’ve finally beat Mother Nature by reserving a nice heated hanger for your aircraft overnight, but while the line crew began positioning your aircraft the next morning for departure, a strong front decided to push through bringing along freezing rain and snow with it…

If this situation sounds familiar, than you most likely do everything possible to minimize any deicing fluids from ever touching your aircraft; unfortunately, deicing fluids are occasionally necessary during winter months, but caution must be taken to ensure these fluids don’t build up on your aircraft’s surface(s) and cause damage to its appearance.

Check out these 3 easy tips that will help you minimize the impact that these fluids will have on your aircraft this winter:

  1. Wash often – Many people know how important it is to wash your aircraft on some sort of a schedule (if you don’t shame on you); but if you’re flying into winter weather and utilizing deicing services often, it’s a good idea to increase your cleaning schedules to at least include a quick wipe down after every deicing event (or the end of the flight day if multiple events happen). Not only will this wipe-down make your aircraft looks great for its next flight, it will also help to ensure that any fluid left behind doesn’t “cake/bake on” and damage your aircraft’s paint over time.
  2. Don’t forget the gear and gear wells – One section of your aircraft that will encounter deice fluids more than any other will be your aircraft’s landing gear and gear well areas. Take in to consideration not only do these sections pass through used fluids residing on the ramp, but they also encounter airport de/anti-ice applications on taxiways and runways during every flight; thus, ensuring these fluids are addressed promptly (usually with your scheduled wash) you can minimize the risk of leaving behind deice fluid residue and perhaps a large maintenance bill if these residues build up over time and damage important lubricants. Note: Landing gear and gear wells are EXTREMELY fragile areas, so it may be best to reach out to a professional aircraft detailing company or consult your favorite maintenance person for assistance with cleaning these areas if you need help!
  3. A note about wet washing – While most deice fluids are considered bio-degradable to some extent, it’s important to note that if you do utilize wet washing to clean your aircraft, deicing fluids can still pose a serious threat to local storm and ground water sources if improperly disposed of. So, if you (or your cleaning vendor) do choose to utilize wet washing, ensure that the wash pad (or hanger) you’re using has a proper water separator and approval for use BEFORE starting!

Deicing fluids may be a pain in the neck most times, but keeping their impact to your aircraft and our environment to a minimum only requires a bit of planning and knowledge and these tips are a great starting place!