Ice and snow removal is key before fighters take off

Before the US Air Force F-16s can take off in sub-zero conditions during Trident Juncture, they are need to go through de-icing prior to take-off. Photo by Christian Timmig
Oct 30, 2018
KALLAX, Sweden – When you operate highly sensitive military aircraft in sub-zero conditions, de-icing is one important step before the pilots can take to the skies.

Here at Kallax Air Base, Sweden, the United States Air Force F-16 fighter jets from Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, have had to go through this portion of flight preparations almost daily in the last couple of days.

As a first step, mechanics from the unit conduct the routine flight preparations on the  the jets. Subsequenlty, the F-16s move to a special area on the ramp where Swedish de-icing trucks are waiting. The operators bring the spraying arms in position and apply de-icing fluid to all surfaces of the aircraft. The fluid is a mix of glycol and water and is normally heated before it is pressurized and sprayed to remove ice and snow from the jet.

In cold-weather operations like during Trident Juncture, the jets are regularly treated this way prior to take-off to ensure the aerodynamic characteristics of the planes as well as unblocking any frozen movable parts. It takes approximately five minutes for the two de-icing trucks to finish their job before the jets can taxi for another take-off to fly in support of NATO exercise Trident Juncture 2018 over Norway, Finland and Sweden.

Story by Allied Air Command Public Affairs Office
More de-icing pictures here.

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