Saturday, November 22, 2008

Snow and Ice and Orange Goup

I'm out at the airplane with the customer, but they don't want to go flying, they just want to make sure everything is working on the computers. I have electrical power through ground power, with the airplane secured and not running, so I don't even have to be on board. Instead I check that the wing covers and engine tents are nicely in place, that the oil quantity is sufficent for the next flight, and arrange for fuelling. It turns out that the fueller is happy to peel back and replace the wing covers, so I don't have to be here for fuelling. Excellent.

It's snowing lightly now. I open up the door and go inside to see how they are doing. They're swearing at Microsoft Windows. That seems to be a universal component of the workplace, whether you work in a cubicle or in the sky. Even if you work on a Mac, I understand that it's still necessary to swear at Windows from time to time, over difficulties with customer file transfers, the non-availability of programs for the Mac, or just on general principles.

I wander off to see what else we have available around here. I saw a deicing truck the other morning and asked at the FBO if that belonged to an airline or was available to me. The latter is true, and he gives me directions to find the man in charge, the airport manager.

It's a Type I fluid they have, so appropriate for my airplane, and they are available on 24-hour call. They heat it up in the truck and apply it at "180 degrees" (I assume Fahrenheit). The charge is $100 to start (i.e. $50 each for a two man crew) plus $4.30 per litre for the fluid applied. I'm pretty sure it wouldn't take more than 50L to deice my bird, but I keep the wing covers tied down well just in case. The only problem is that if it rains and then freezes with the covers on, the covers may hold water against the wing, and then you end up with a giant airplansicle. Hence my desire to have the deicing guy's phone number in my back pocket.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the word airplansicle. Looking at your fellow bloggers, I figure it really seems to be that time of the year again.

nec Timide said...

Indeed. Ice makes me shiver, not from the cold.

I thought you meant the other orange goup used on airplanes. That is only because I was up to my elbows in cowling yesterday doing the winterizing ritual, which for me includes checking all the various bits of goup are still goupy enough and in their place.

Anonymous said...

According to Sam at that above link, and fwiw:

"Type I fluid is normally heated between 130 and 180 degrees C"

Aviatrix said...

I call typo on Sam. I was pretty much joking when I implied the possibility that the temperature I quoted wasn't in Fahrenheit. That's way, way too hot. Fluid at 180C would damage parts of many airplanes, vapourize the water, and I would have heard of more than one serious burn accident involving ramp workers and deicing fluid.

Here's a chemical discussion of the composition of deicing fluid, including application temperature of "150 to 180F" and here's a Gulfstream deicing guide that shows 60 to 80 degrees C (140-176F). That fits pretty well with Sam's quoted range if we assume he typoed.

sydost said...

"They're swearing at Microsoft Windows. That seems to be a universal component of the workplace, whether you work in a cubicle or in the sky."

Our in cockpit performance and mass & balance laptop runs on Windows XP. Sometimes the laptop reboots itself on the crucial moments of departure when everything else is done. How convenient is that.

In one of our ATRs there is a new "electronic flight bag" mounted to the aircraft. Our whole fleet is supposed to have the EFBs installed and after that we are changing to a truly paperless cockpit. I wonder what happens when the computers say "PLIM!" and all our paperwork vanishes like ash in the wind. Maybe its a good idea to have some paper charts as a backup.

Maybe we'll have the wi-fi option in the EFB so I could read your blog in the cockpit during longer stops. I might catch up faster... only one and a half year to go.