Polar vortex 2019: Here's how planes get de-iced

As temperatures plunge around the country, flights are getting canceled due to the extreme weather conditions.

Even when it is safe to fly, the process of getting the planes off the ground might involve de-icing the plane. When ice clings to planes, a special substance is used to get it off. De-icing fluid is essential for planes to fly in icy conditions, as they are designed to take off and fly under specific parameters.

De-icing fluid is a mixture of glycol, water and optional other ingredients such as color dye. The fluid melts snow and ice already on the aircraft, but it doesn't keep new accumulation from clinging. Anti-icing fluid is used for that.

While planes are up in the air, there are several methods that can be used to keep ice off, including re-routing heat from the engine into the wings and tail.


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