Protection from the elements

By Master Sgt. Todd Wivell on January 8, 2016

With recent temperatures reaching well below the freezing mark of 32 degrees, airmen from the 62nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron at Joint Base Lewis-McChord were working around the clock to ensure the fleet of 48 C-17 Globemaster III aircraft were protected from the elements.

Using a mobile truck mounted deicer, the airmen spray deicing fluid on the aircraft to protect it from ice buildup of aircraft surfaces, engines and aircaft sensors.

The process of deicing the aircaft can take anywhere from 15 to 60 minutes and typically takes a crew of three airmen, with one in the bucket and two in the truck, to complete the mission.

As missions and local flights happen anytime, day or night, these 62nd AMXS deicing crews are called on at any given time to provide this service.

Deicing fluids come in a variety of types, and are typically composed of ethylene glycol or propylene glycol, along with other ingredients such as thickening agents, surfactants (wetting agents), corrosion inhibitors and colored, UV-sensitive dye.

The amount of fluid necessary to deice an aircraft depends on a wide variety of factors. Deicing a large commercial aircraft typically consumes between 500 U.S. gallons and 1,000 U.S. gallons of diluted fluid.