Ground De-Icing and Anti-Icing of Aircraft

Information for Aerodrome and Aircraft Operators

Key Definitions

De-icing is the removal of ice, snow and frost from the surface of the aircraft.

Anti-icing is prevention of build-up of ice, snow and frost on the surface of the aircraft.

De-icing/anti-icing procedures must be carried out exclusively by personnel trained and qualified on this subject. Companies providing de-icing/anti-icing services should have both a Qualification Programme and a Quality Assurance Programme to monitor and maintain an acceptable level of competence.

Operators should take account of the following:

  • Training of flight crew, ground handling and engineering staff. Appropriate time should be allocated to deliver a meaningful syllabus, and the training/competence of contracted organisation staff should also be addressed.

  • Ground de-icing/anti-icing procedures should be covered during type related initial and recurrent training of flight and ground crew.

  • The procedure for selection of engine de-icing/anti-icing in flight should be reviewed with the support of engine/airframe manufacturers where necessary.

  • Some Flight Safety Programmes fail to highlight winter operations issues to operators’ personnel and contracted organisations’ staff. A Flight Safety Programme would be most effective if completed immediately prior to the onset of winter.

  • Quality systems should be improved to address de-icing/anti-icing and winter ground handling standards, and must include contracted organisations.

  • Ground handling contracts should include sufficient operator or aircraft type specific information, and the transfer of responsibility for snow and ice precautions between ground staff and flight crew should be clarified.

  • Access equipment for intake inspections should be readily available.

The operator should provide procedures for ground handling agencies, engineering personnel and flight crew, detailing processes, duties and responsibilities for ground de-icing/anti-icing and associated ground handling tasks, such as intake blanking. De-icing/anti-icing techniques for intakes and undercarriage should be detailed. Those tasks contracted to ground handling agencies should be subject to regular quality reviews.

In the case of off-gate de-icing/anti-icing, the key elements to be considered are communication, inspection and records. The following should be considered for inclusion in procedures as applicable:

(a) The responsibility for determining the need for de-icing/anti-icing on the gate, and the means of communication to the commander.

(b) Establishment of two-way communication with de-icing/anti-icing ground staff.

(c) Key staff responsibilities, including post-treatment inspection.

(d) The procedure for ensuring deactivation of aircraft systems.

(e) The format and passing of de-icing/anti-icing codes.

(f) Ground and flight deck record requirements.

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