While aircraft are designed to operate within rigorous environments, they must have certain systems to keep them protected when conditions threaten safety and performance. For example, when aircraft conduct flights in colder areas or during winter months, they face the risk of having ice buildups on various surfaces. While seemingly minor to those unfamiliar, the buildup of ice can quickly alter airflow and lift, and various instruments may lose the ability to make readings when their ports are frozen over. Because of this, many aircraft utilize what are known as deicing and anti-icing systems, both of which remove and prevent ice formations. In this blog, we will answer the question of how deicing and anti-icing systems work, allowing you to better understand how flights are kept safe in freezing conditions.


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The aviation industry is one of the most regulated industries in the world, ensuring that flying by air remains one of the safest ways to travel on average. One of the biggest hazards that an aircraft can face is a fire occurring while in flight as flames can lead to explosions if they come into contact with tanks or systems that contain fuel. In 1996, a tragic accident occurred in which TWA Flight 800 faced an electric spark in one of the aircraft’s fuel tanks, leading to an explosion as fuel vapor and air was ignited. To prevent such occurrences from happening again, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) quickly mandated the use of fuel inerting systems to mitigate the flammability exposure of tank gasses. Fuel inerting systems guard spaces from combustion through the use of chemically unreactive substances, the most common being the inert gas nitrogen.


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Aircraft that operate in weather conditions where ice is likely to form must be provided with ice protection technology. This protection may be in the form of anti-icing systems, or de-icing systems. An anti-icing system prevents the formation of ice on the airplane, while a de-icing system removes ice that has already formed. In this blog we will focus on de-icing boots and TKS fluid systems.  A de-icing system has two pertinent advantages. First, it can utilize a variety of means to transfer energy used to remove the ice.


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