Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The True North Cold and Frosty

The handover crew reported that the worst problem here has been heavy frost. There's no point trying to get going in the morning before nine because the frost reforms as fast as it can be taken off, and then even if the weather holds, the frost is so heavy that if they land at four to refuel, the airplane is unflyable by the time the tanks are full. Before he leaves, one of the other pilots drives to another airport served by a scheduled carrier and buys five gallons of Type I deicing fluid for $25 a gallon, and that's already partly diluted. It has about a 45 minute holdover time in these conditions, and we use it without further dilution, it can be safely applied down to the mid-thirties. If it's warm enough for dilution we'll mix a themos full of hot water from the hotel coffee maker with a half garden sprayer full of fluid and that will be good to -18, if I recall correctly. It's all written down where I can consult it.

The plan will be to detarp, deice, run up and depart then when we land for fuel to be ready to deice again. It will be worth it for getting the second flight in on a day. The fluid looks like the orange syrup you got to make orange drink, if you ever had a McDonald's birthday party back in the 1980s. We can now carry this on board if we have room for it, and we're expecting to be in one place long enough to actually use the stuff this year. It also has a long shelf life, so if we shut down and go to Florida we can store it somewhere until we return to Canada in the spring.

Deicing is a huge deal in Canada. I can't imagine how many resources go into manufacturing, testing, obtaining, storing and applying deicers, but when the 140-page government Guidelines document has sections on hijacking and bomb threats I have to wonder if someone didn't go overboard on it. Are they talking about people hijacking the deicing truck, or having a company or airport policy that hijacked aircraft go to the head of the deicing queue?


jinksto said...

nah, it just says you've gotta be ready to deal with a hijacking or bomb threat if it occurs during the deicing procedure:

2.2.12 Emergencies
"Should an emergency occur during the deicing process, or within the designated deicing area, an emergency response plan must be in place."

err... wait... you were just being funny weren't you?

Anonymous said...

I am shocked, shocked I say, that the document has no discussion of terrorism whatsoever. Why, what if terrorists replaced the regular de-icing fluid with exploding de-icing fluid?

(Would that be Type V? Or are there different types depending on the velocity at which it explodes? Do they have their own manual on how to chose an appropriate exploding type based on the type of the aircraft? Are the application procedures any different?)

Anonymous said...

Too many terrorists nowadays are obsessed with explosions.
We pacifist eco-terrorists are researching bright orange aircraft-eating glop which will act fast enough to prevent your takeoff. As you evacuate the remains of the aircraft you'll notice that it also eats clothing.