De-Icing & Anti-Ice Sensors: Fact File!
Ice and snow might be fun if you’re making a snowman, but if you’re flying a plane, it’s a very different matter – they can even be dangerous.
The shape of an aeroplane’s wings and tail are designed to be exactly the right shape to give the plane the lift it needs to take off and fly safely. A layer of ice or snow can change the shape making it harder to move the plane in the way the pilot wants. It also makes the plane much heavier.
So when a plane is being prepared for take off, ice and snow will be removed with special de-icer sprays, a bit like the ones people use on their cars on frosty mornings – although at airports these sprays are much, much bigger!
Once in the air, special sensors around the aircraft are used to detect how much ice is on the wings, tail and engine openings. If ice reaches an unsafe level, sensors will alert the pilot – sometimes hot air from the engines can be run through pipes to melt the ice.
If it’s too severe, the pilot may decide to change course or height to make sure the plane, and everyone in side, stays safe!
Amy Aviation with support from the Royal Aeronautical Society. Click here to find out more.