Meet the crew responsible for deicing planes

January 19, 2019 06:11 PM

This monster of a storm is impacting travel on the ground and in the air. But for the flights still taking off, crews are busy working to keep the planes unfrozen. 

Snow is all over the ground, but it's not sticking to the planes thanks to people like Justin Higgins line service technician.

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"We're deicing the planes to make sure they get out safely," Higgins said.

Federal Aviation Association regulations require planes to be clear of ice and snow before take off. The technicians are spraying the planes with a chemical solution.

"It's a mixture of antifreeze and hot water to melt the ice and the spray is the anti-icing solution glycol on to the wings," Higgins said.

The solution is nearly 200 degrees and it freezes somewhere around -20 degrees. This process helps to make sure pilots can use the plane’s engine correctly. Colby Habermacer says the team comes in before the crack of dawn from October to April to de-ice dozens of planes every day.

"There will be parts where you're outside in a bucket for an hour or two at a time but hopefully we get time to hop in the car to warm up," Habermacer said.

The crew faces several challenges while doing the job.

"Extreme wind makes it very difficult, especially in the spring the fluid isn't able to reach the plane, low visibility and heavy snow," Habermacer said.

Despite the hurdles, the crews always do the job because lives and flights depend on it.

"Planes wouldn't be able to take off without this job," Habermacer said. "So we do the best we can to work diligently and as carefully as possible so these flights can take off safely."

Depending on the weather, the crews also put a syrupy green solution on the windows so they stay clear throughout the flight. If you're scheduled to fly out sometime Saturday night or throughout the day Saturday, make sure you check the cancellations and delays.


Kaci Jones

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