With much of Europe and North American in the deep freeze of winter, you may not be flying that much. However and if you are doing any flying, safely deicing your aircraft before taking off will be your number one priority.
Hence, a recent article by Meg Godlewski for General Aviation News listing ten tips for deicing an aircraft is well worth repeating. Meg began her article by noting that even a light coat of frost can impact lift by as much as 40%. She then proceeded to outline the following ten tips for best de-icing an aircraft:
- Avoid the use of an ice scraper or other hard plastic tools for cleaning off the windscreen or windows as Plexiglas is much softer and can scratch easily.
- Do not put down your flaps when you start the deicing process as they may be frozen up and you will end up taxing the motor. Moreover, the battery may have been sapped of energy by the cold and may not have the energy to deploy the flaps.
- When doing any ice or snow removal, use a soft brush designated specifically for such activities. Do not use any brush or broom that is used to sweep a hangar as any small rocks or even grit in the bristles could scratch the paint or windshields.
- Be sure to cover the instrument panel with towels or newspapers in case there are any cabin leaks.
- Condensation may form on or in the instruments but don’t be surprised by this. Simply wipe down the instrument panel with a chamois cloth to remove any moisture.
- Avoid getting any isopropyl alcohol in your eyes if you will be using it in the cleaning process.
- Don’t be in a big hurry as it will take time to get all the moisture off while refreezing is always a possibility.
- When defrosting an aircraft in the sun, you should turn it periodically in order to take advantage of the sun’s heat.
- When defrosting an aircraft in a hangar, be sure to wipe up any puddles that may form.
- Before starting up your engine, it may be a good idea to preheat it.
Keeping the above tips in mind will keep you safe if you have any flying plans this winter.