Airplane Deicing: The How & Why

If you’ve traveled by air in wintry weather, you’ve probably looked out your window before takeoff and seen vehicles circling the plane, spraying deicing fluid on the wings. Passengers often ask me why it’s so important to make sure the aircraft is free of snow and ice accumulation.

Not just removing, but also preventing a build-up of snow and ice on the wings and tail of an airplane is crucial for a safe take-off. A plane’s wings and rear tail component are engineered with a very specific shape in order to provide proper lift for flight. Snow and ice on these areas in essence changes their shape and disrupts the airflow across the surface, hindering the ability to create lift.

Whenever snow, ice, or even frost has accumulated on the aircraft, the pilots call on the airport deicing facility to have it removed. Deicing fluid, a mixture of a chemical called glycol and water, is generally heated and sprayed under pressure to remove ice and snow on the aircraft.

While it removes ice and snow, deicing fluid has a limited ability to prevent further ice from forming. If winter precipitation is falling, such as snow, freezing rain or sleet, further action needs to be taken to prevent ice from forming again on the aircraft before takeoff.

In these cases, anti-icing fluid is applied after the deicing process is complete. This fluid is of a higher concentration of glycol than deicing fluid. It has a freezing point well below 32 degrees Fahrenheit or zero Celsius and therefore is able to prevent the precipitation that falls into it from freezing on the plane’s surface.

Anti-icing fluid also has an additive that thickens it more than deicing fluid to help it adhere to aircraft surfaces as it speeds down the runway during takeoff.

Pilots temporarily disable the aircraft’s ventilation system during the deicing/anti-icing process to prevent fluid fumes from entering the cabin. Although the fumes are considered nontoxic for inhalation, we try to keep the odor out of the cabin regardless. Sometimes the scent, similar to maple syrup, does find its way into the aircraft cabin.

As the anti-icing fluids lose their effectiveness in flight, the aircraft is still equipped with systems that prevent frozen precipitation from building on the wings, tail and various sensors around the airplane. These systems are not only important in the winter months, but also in the summer months, because at higher altitudes, the temperature is well below freezing year-round.

Typically aircraft systems prevent ice buildup in one of two ways. On most jet aircraft, hot air from the engines is routed through piping in the wings, tail and engine openings to heat their surfaces and prevent icing.

Preventing ice formation in the engine openings is important, as ice here could dislodge and cause damage as it’s ingested into the engine. This occurrence would be similar to throwing a rock into a running washing machine — clearly not a good idea.

On propeller driven aircraft, balloon-like devices attached to the wings and tail are inflated and deflated with air from the engines, breaking up any ice accumulation.

We can’t promise your trip to the airport will be ice-free, but there won’t be any icy buildup on the plane getting you to your holiday destination.

By Daniel E. Fahl

Source: Airplane deicing: The how and why

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A snowstorm left snow piled on top of this Norwegian 737-800 bound for Copenhagen, Denmark from Oslo, Norway. The video features pushback, taxi, de-ice, and takeoff. It’s certainly not something you see everyday. Enjoy! Please LIKE & SUBSCRIBE to support my channel!

United Airlines Kicks Retired Professors Off Late-Night Flight

A married couple, Jessie Au, 68, and her husband M.G. (“Guill”) Wientjes, 66, both PhDs, were kicked off a late-night United flight from Washington, DC to Los Angeles earlier this summer.

To add insult to injury, Au, a 5’3” grandmother, says an internal United committee called her “belligerent” and “threatening” after she stood up for her rights as a passenger. Although not physically beaten or dragged, Dr. Au says the intimidating experience reminded her of the treatment Dr. David Dao received in a notorious United incident in 2017.

(Full disclosure: I own stock in American, JetBlue and Southwest Airlines.)

The incident apparently began when Dr. M. G. Wientjes and another passenger were issued boarding passes with duplicate seat assignments. While trying to sort out the mess, the couple says a flight attendant dropped Wientjes’ boarding pass several rows back, then denied they had ever given it to her. Although the pass was ultimately returned to the Wientjes, they say by that time the situation had become confrontational, with the flight attendant screaming “You’re coming out.”

I contacted United Airlines multiple times to hear their side of the story, but did not receive an on-the-record response before publication. On September 13, we received the following statement from a United spokesperson. “At United, we hold ourselves to the highest standards of professionalism. Following this issue, we reached out to our customers and our team to find out what happened.” Sources within the airline also note that they spoke to the Wientjes in July to talk through the incident.

Today In: Lifestyle

Jessie Au and Guil Wientjes retired as professors of pharmaceutics from The Ohio State University. The couple met in San Francisco as young researchers and have been married nearly forty years. But rather than stay home and dote on their three grandchildren, the pair remain active in scientific research with their Carlsbad-based company Optimum Therapeutics, currently working on a time-release medication that attaches itself to tumors.

On June 24, they were at Washington Dulles (IAD), having completed visits to the National Institute of Health and the Food and Drug Administration in search of a research grant. They checked in on UA1448 at 7PM, three hours ahead of their scheduled 10:15PM departure to LAX. The couple planned to drive to San Diego after their early-morning arrival the next day.

They got boarding passes with assigned seats 21A (Wientjes) and 21C (Au) in the exit row. The couple boarded in the first two boarding groups, stowed carry-ons and relaxed in their seats. About 20 minutes later, another passenger in the 5th boarding group appeared with a boarding pass for 21A. A flight attendant took both boarding passes and headed to the back of the plane, apparently to try to resolve the situation. But then, according to Au, she dropped the pass and denied that Au and Wientjes had given it to her.

By this time a gate agent had arrived to assist the flight attendant, and the other person assigned the same seat had been seated elsewhere. When another passenger handed them the dropped boarding pass, the Wientjes say, they tried to get the attention of the flight attendant. They were ignored.

“They had their back to me. I said,“We have the pass here it is,” says Dr. Au. They ignored her “until I tapped her elbow from her seat. “’I just want to show you.’”

Au says, “The flight attendant and gate agent both yelled at us. We were traumatized. You could hear them screaming throughout the plane. “Don’t touch me! You are coming out! I’m going to kick you off the plane.”

The elbow tap may be what led a United internal review committee to call Au “physically threatening.” Ultimately United sent another flight attendant and three ground personnel to deal with the Wientjes. “They didn’t resolve the issue,” said Dr. Au. “They abuse us for no good reason.” What is unclear is if the elderly couple were considered a threat, why air marshals, TSA, local police or other security personnel were not contacted.

“Jessie didn’t curse or yell. We think the flight attendant overreacted,” says Dr. M.G. Wientjes. He says “United made all these promises” about how passengers would be treated after the Dr. Dao beating. Yet Wientjes says the flight attendant, the ground personnel and even the pilot were “menacing and unpleasant.”

The Wientjes, who say they were sitting in their assigned seats and felt “abused” by United, refused to leave. A 40-minute impasse resulted, in which three ground personnel boarded the plane to “discuss” the situation with the Wientjes, which they found intimidating. Ultimately, the pilot went on the intercom. He said there was a “situation” on the aircraft and all the passengers would have to deplane.

At this point, the Wientjes reluctantly left the plane so the other passengers could fly. Although United put them up for the night and put them on a plane the following day, the United Mileage Plus members were warned that they were on an internal watch list. Au says she has been repeatedly questioned on subsequent flights.

Hong Kong-born Au, who is 5’ 3 and a non-drinker, was subsequently accused of being “belligerent” and “physically threatening” by an internal United panel. The United Airlines Passenger Incident Review Committee, (PIRC) had previously demanded she produce a substantial written response within 96 hours or face a lifetime ban from United.

“This event was caused by mistakes of two UA employees, the gate agent who double-assigned the same seat to two passengers and the flight attendant who misplaced our boarding pass,” claims Dr. Au. “But no one apologized for the UA mistakes nor acknowledged that UA violated their Contract of Carriage that a seated passenger cannot be removed unless the passenger presents a security or safety risk.”

The former professor believes that United employees and the PIRC “greatly exaggerated a light tap on their employee’s elbow as being physically threatening.” To the Wientjes, the internal review “was nothing more than an exercise in putting more blame on the passengers.”

“Being removed from our flight, in addition to being delayed, was humiliating and hurtful,” say the Wientjes. They feel that since the “infamous incident of Dr. Dao” being forcefully dragged off a United Airlines flight two years ago, “the CEO and President of UA have repeatedly vowed to improve their service and make passengers feel good. We would like them to live up to their words and revise their policy and procedures so that what happened to us cannot happen to other passengers.”

I’ve won several journalism awards, and my writing on travel has appeared in The Los Angeles Times, American Way, Southwest Airlines Spirit, Successful Meetings and United Hemispheres. At home in the middle seat, I’ve got a fistful of travel reward credit cards, have spent more than six months of my life in Las Vegas hotels and I’ve traveled extensively across the world. Yet one of my favorite travel destinations is Independence, KS, a great American small town, where my work as a playwright was performed at the William Inge Festival.

Source: United Airlines Kicks Retired Professors Off Late-Night Flight

A passenger was forcibly removed from a United Airlines flight by law enforcement on Sunday after refusing to give up his seat. According to a person who says they were on the flight, the airline needed room on the overbooked aircraft to reposition crew for another flight. But when it couldn’t find enough volunteers, even after offering $800, the airline selected the man, who is a doctor, and several other passengers to deplane. The video quickly made its way around the internet and social media. In a statement to Business Insider, United Airlines said: “Flight 3411 from Chicago to Louisville was overbooked. After our team looked for volunteers, one customer refused to leave the aircraft voluntarily and law enforcement was asked to come to the gate. We apologize for the overbook situation. Further details on the removed customer should be directed to authorities.” ————————————————– Follow BI Video on Twitter: http://bit.ly/1oS68Zs Follow BI on Facebook: http://bit.ly/1W9Lk0n Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/ ————————————————– Business Insider is the fastest growing business news site in the US. Our mission: to tell you all you need to know about the big world around you. The BI Video team focuses on technology, strategy and science with an emphasis on unique storytelling and data that appeals to the next generation of leaders – the digital generation.

Norwegian Cancels 25% Of U.S. Winter Flights To Europe

Norwegian Air Shuttle aircraft taking off from Stockholm Arlanda Airport.

Norwegian Air Shuttle aircraft taking off from Stockholm Arlanda Airport.

Looking for a cheap winter vacation to Europe? Your budget options from the U.S. have just decreased as the results of Norwegian’s strategy shift from growth to profitability start to become clear. The low-cost carrier has axed hundreds of long-haul flights from its 2019/20 winter schedule, which runs from November 1 to March 31.

From the end of October, 10 routes between the U.S. and Europe will be suspended for the season. Worst affected will be departures from Los Angeles (LAX), from where three routes are suspended. New York (JFK) loses two departures.

The changes mean that Norwegian will operate just 113 flights per week between the U.S. and Europe this winter compared to 150 last winter, a drop of around 25%. During the current summer timetable, the carrier operates 188 flights per week.

Winter route cancellations in full

To Paris: The route from Boston is suspended.

To London Gatwick: The routes from Chicago and Denver are suspended.

To Copenhagen: The routes from Fort Lauderdale, Los Angeles and New York JFK are suspended.

To Oslo: The routes from Los Angeles and Orlando are suspended.

To Rome: The route from Los Angeles is suspended.

To Stockholm: The route from New York JFK is suspended.

Additional changes in the U.S.

In addition to the seasonal cancellations, the airline has confirmed its Stockholm to Orlando route will be canceled permanently. This follows the cancellation of the London Gatwick to Las Vegas route earlier this year.

The airline is also shifting some operations from Oakland Airport to nearby San Francisco. Both the Barcelona and Paris routes will join the London-Gatwick route that currently operates out of San Francisco. The summer-only services to Copenhagen, Oslo, Rome and Stockholm will remain at Oakland.

Earlier this year, Norwegian axed its U.S. flights to the French Caribbean islands of Martinique and Guadeloupe in a cost-cutting move.

Financial sense for Norwegian

While the winter suspensions will come as a blow to budget-seeking vacationers, it is far from unexpected. Outgoing CEO Bjørn Kjos had indicated that the airline would be evaluating its long-haul strategy in a bid to return to profitability.

Despite recording record passenger number in 2018, the airline’s expansion of its long-haul network hit its balance sheet hard. Last year, Aviation International News claimed they had an unsustainable level of debt. Just months later, the carrier needed a massive injection of new equity in January to stay airborne. The grounding of its 18 Boeing 787 MAX aircraft hasn’t helped matters either. Kjos, who recently stepped down from his CEO role after 17 years, claimed the grounding would raise its costs by $58 million.

A transatlantic future for Norwegian?

It isn’t yet known whether some or any of these suspended routes will return for the 2020/21 season, or even if some will be canceled entirely. There are reports that a new London Gatwick to Cape Town route is at an advanced stage of planning. It’s likely that such a route would be easier to operate at a profit than many of the transatlantic routes that are much more competitive. Given Norwegian’s shift in strategy, this could mean Norwegian looking away from the U.S. on a more permanent basis.

As there is a temporary CEO in place while the search for a permanent boss continues, odds are the senior management will simply wait and see how the market develops over the coming months.

Matthew Robert Wood, Norwegian’s senior vice president of commercial long-haul and new markets called the winter suspension a “natural move” following a thorough review. He said the airline would focus on profitable seasonal routes such as Asia, and look into growing the route network in South America.

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I was born in the UK but moved to Norway in 2011 and haven’t looked back. I run a website and podcast for fellow expats, authored the Moon Norway travel guidebook

Source: Norwegian Cancels 25% Of U.S. Winter Flights To Europe

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