Cold temperatures require deicing more aircraft earlier than normal

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SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – With temperatures dropping and winter on its way, airport workers are taking extra precautions to keep you safe.

“Deicing is a very important piece of aviation,” said Randy Hubbell, the general manager of Integrated Deicing Services (IDS) for the Salt Lake City International Airport.

Once temperatures drop below 49 degrees, a de-icing crew is on staff at the airport and ready for any unpredictable weather.

“Weather here in Salt Lake, it changes daily,” Hubbell said.

This year is the earliest crews have ever had to spray aircraft in the beehive state and the first one was on September 30.

Randy Hubbell and Chris Ballard said the reason these fluids are sprayed is to clean off elements like frost or snow, keeping you and the aircraft flying safely.

“Airplanes need us,” said Ballard who’s an operational manager at IDS. “They need us in the wintertime. They can’t take off with anything on their wings.”

This process can take anywhere from five to 10 minutes for frost and 10 to 30 minutes for snow.

“It does take a little bit of time and I know for that flier who’s flying all the time that little extra piece can frustrate them,” Hubbell said.

The IDS crew sprays fluid for seven different airline operators. As of Thursday, crews have completed nearly 125, compared to last year’s 73.

Hubbell said the last plane IDS sprayed this year was in June. He said the cold weather came sooner than normal, requiring more planes to be sprayed.

In order to take off any ice or snow, operators driving de-icing trucks like this one get as close as 5 feet from the aircraft in order to ensure the heat from the fluid gets to the plane.

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