Why Are Planes ‘Baptized’ With Water Before They Take Off?

Have you ever noticed or seen planes being flashed with water just before they take off, you can be forgiven if you thought they were being baptized moments to their take off.

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What actually happenes?

What is done is to fly the planes through the de-icing equipment to remove the remains of snow, frost or ice, a necessary process so that they can fly with all the guarantees.

What does it consist of? How do these deicing equipment work?

The melting equipment consists of some trucks, which have incorporated a 5,000-liter tank of a mixture of water and glycol, and a boiler with a burner that causes the mixture to heat up and exit through the canyon, nothing more and nothing less , that 82 degrees Celsius.

The truck are installed pumps that raise the water so that, when the operator opens the exhaust valve, it allows the liquid to escape at the necessary pressure to fall on the plane. With this process it is possible to eliminate any remaining frost, ice, snow or snow water from the airplanes so that the surfaces are lean.

An orange dye is added to the mixture, for an easy verification of the correct application on the surfaces. Water melts ice, frost or snow, while glycol prevents its formation during a certain period of time.

Usually the vertical and horizontal planes (wings and tail), the fuselage, the radar dome, the landing gear gates and the stabilizers are usually defrosted. Although with extreme weather conditions, you have to do the airplanes completely. The process is performed at the request of the flight commander.

This process is carried out by scrupulously applying the instructions of the aircraft manufacturer’s manuals, the IATA regulations and the ISO regulations, among others.

The time needed for this process can range from three minutes to one hour or more. Normally it takes between three and five minutes to clean an airplane with ice or frost. Those times can be quite increased if it’s snow; There are times that it can take up to more than an hour.




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