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GATE A6


BAGGAGE HANDLING GATE F4


DE-ICING In places where temperatures


sink below zero for much of the year, airports can’t afford to shut down at the first sight of snow. Equipping them to operate safely in the most extreme conditions is about a lot more than just clearing the runway, as WSP Genivar’s Canadian aviation teams know.


“De-icing aircraft is a fundamental procedure during the winter season,” says Greg Ballentine, senior aviation planner/architect at WSP Genivar in Toronto. “Even a very small amount of roughness caused by snow, ice or frost – as little as 0.4mm – can disrupt the air flow over the surface of a plane’s wing, resulting in loss of lift, increased drag and reduced manoeuvrability. Heavy accumulations of snow or ice also add weight to the aircraft. The consequences can be fatal.”


In Canada, the de-icing season can begin as early as September and continue through until April or May. WSP Genivar has designed deicing facilities for airports including Saskatoon in Saskatchewan and Fort McMurray in Alberta, and carried out de-icing studies for major international airports at Halifax and Ottawa. The process is typically carried out using de-icing and anti-icing fluids, which have a jelly-like consistency and are designed to shear off the aircraft as it takes off. De-icing can take anywhere from two minutes, to remove frost , to 20 minutes for heavy precipitation, and for a large commercial aircraft, it can consume 2,000-4,000 litres of fluid.


In the past, de-icing typically took place at the gate or on the terminal apron, but airports are now establishing dedicated facilities away from the terminal area. This is partly for environmental reasons: “It means that the effluent from the de-icing process can be more easily contained, and disposed of or treated,” says Ballentine. “Some de-icing vehicles are also being equipped with hot air nozzles that can be used to blow contaminants off the surface of the aircraft to reduce deicing fluid requirements, and infrared technology is now used to melt contaminants instead.”


Centralised de-icing facilities also increase safety, capacity and efficiency, vital for minimising delays during extreme winter events. Aeroplanes can simply taxi onto the de-icing pad, be de-iced while their engines are still running – known as “live de-icing” – and then taxi to the departure runway. “During peak departure periods, long queues of aircraft are often formed waiting to be de-iced, which creates congestion on the apron and taxiways and delays to arriving aircraft too. It can take as long as four or five minutes to shut down and restart an aircraft’s engines. Live de-icing helps to minimise the delays.”


SPECIALIST SKILLS AVIATION SOLUTIONS


De-icing can


take anywhere from two minutes, to


remove frost, to 20 minutes for heavy precipitation


SOLUTIONS SPECIAL


EDITOR Julie Guppy, WSP Group Communications julie.guppy@wspgroup.com


DESIGNED AND PRODUCED BY Supreme Creative, www.supremecreative.co.uk


WRITTEN AND EDITED BY Wordmule, www.wordmule.co.uk


SOLUTIONS SPECIAL


SOLUTIONS 15


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