FMC Technologies (NYSE:FTI) announced that an innovative process, developed by its Airport Equipment and Services business, that changes the way anti-icing fluid is applied to aircraft using forced air technology, has been approved by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
"Several years ago one of our customers began experimenting with the use of anti-ice fluid with forced air," explained Ed Sachs, Manager of Deicer Engineering, FMC Technologies' Ground Support Equipment business. "The customer conducted unofficial tests with our deicing equipment and specific brand name fluid companies, noting how fast and evenly the fluid applied over a wide surface."
Tests revealed cost and time saving benefits by using anti-ice fluid with forced air over the conventional, non forced air method:
- Providing an even, consistent coating
- Easier and faster application
- Less fluid used
- Less exposure to the environment
- Reduced operating costs
Traditionally, heated deicing fluid is applied to aircraft removing frost, snow and ice. After the entire aircraft surface is clean, cold anti-icing fluid is applied to the aircraft's wing and horizontal stabilizers to prevent them from refreezing prior to take-off. Just before the aircraft's rotation, the anti-ice fluid shears off of the wing and the aircraft's lift surface is free of anti-icing fluid.
A formal process to approve this application was conducted by the FAA at the customer's facility. Based on the results of the test, the FAA issued bulletin number FSAT 05-02, addressing the use of forced air and forced air assistance with anti-ice fluid. The bulletin references FMC's deicing equipment (LMD-2000 and Tempest II) as well as fluids Clarient Safewing, MP IV 2001, Kilfrost ABC-S and Octogon Max Flight 04.
The deicing procedure is currently limited to certain fluid types and FMC's deicing vehicles, but has laid the ground work for approval of other manufacturers of deicing fluids and vehicles.
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As the needs of the industry have changed, suppliers have responded with more environmentally friendly fluid.