Until 2006, the air systems were only used for deicing. A major cargo carrier tested the use of the air system in assisting the application of Type IV anti-icing fluid. This process has since been approved by the FAA and Transport Canada and resulted in a 40 percent Type IV savings for the user this season. We know this system has helped our customers reduce both Type 1 and Type IV glycol use because, since its introduction in 2000, more than 60 percent of the deicers Global has sold have had this option chosen by customers.
There is a second variable cost for the end user — manpower. Most employees receive mandatory deicing training during the late summer or early fall, four to five months before they actually deice. This long hiatus can severely affect an employees proficiency and productivity. They spend the first few deicing events getting reacclimated. When the first deicing simulator was introduced nearly two years ago, it allowed operators to train employees in a cost0effective and efficient manner. Unfortunately, some airlines don’t understand the glycol and time wasted would pay for several simulators a year. A supervisor can choose the aircraft, type of precipitation and observe the operators performance and fluid usage.
These simulators are also a great training tool for the second greatest cost saver — single operator deicers. These deicers allow the individual in the deicing bucket or cab to control all movements of the chassis and boom, while reducing manpower costs by half. However, the single operator units are more complicated to operate and require the operator to be more proficient, another reason for training that can be practiced throughout the year.
This and many more topics on aircraft ground deicing equipment were discussed at the SAG-12 meeting in May. The meetings give everyone an opportunity to network with peers to discuss the previous season and struggles. Having attended these meetings as both a user and a vendor, I can not stress how important they are to anyone involved in any aspect of winter operations.