Deicing News!

Dec. 13, 2017

In the 1940s Thomas J. Watson, then CEO of IBM, reportedly said, "I think there is a world market for about five computers.”

Watson, IMO, was calculating the world market for computers of the 1940s, not the 21st Century. Many new industries—Uber and Lyft, for example—couldn’t exist today without modern computers.

A product called CheckTime, from a company called Vaisala (Wikepedia has an impressive report on company history) expects to become another example of a product that couldn’t exist without modern computers.

I talked a half-hour with Mr. Kevin Petty of the company last week—as arranged by Ms. Courtney Richard, Account Executive.

The service is designed to measure and report local airport weather more often and more accurately, thus reducing the number of aircraft requiring deicing service at individual airports.

The company will install electronic devices (which I’d describe if I could, but I can’t so I won’t) at busy ice-prone airports to measure and report local weather in detail, then advise that deicing is or is not required at the time and airport in question. This will reduce total deicings, thus saving money and time, and reduce handling/storing/disposing of ecologically unfriendly solutions. The biggest benefit might well be the increase in passenger satisfaction, which airlines so desperately need.

Mr. Petty pointed out that most airline flights are full or nearly full these days. A two-hour delay for deicing at ORD might cause a missed flight in ATL. In the old days, they could stick you on the next flight. Today, that next flight is already full.

Be advised that I am not a wizard at predicting the success of new products—and I’ve proved it! OTOH, CheckTime seems like a grand idea to me. Perhaps airport managers should check it out. Contact Jon Tarleton at or at 303-436-2943.