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The Weather - The Hall Of Fame !

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The Weather - The Hall Of Fame !

Old 29th Jan 2004, 17:28
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The Weather - The Hall Of Fame !

The Hall of shame.......

Easyjet for managing to make life hell for ATC by declaring about 12 pans as most aircraft appeared to carry the absolute min fuel, on what was predicted to be the worse day of the year for weather !

The RAF for managing to launch three tankers on exercise with nobody seemingly realising the very heavy possibility that they would not get back to base.....did nobody check the f'cst ?

....and the Gold standard has to be BHX who probably need to employ a Gritter Tsar !

...as this is posted at 9.30 next day it's still closed
perhaps they are waiting for Halfords to open !

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Old 29th Jan 2004, 21:19
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I don't know about the RAF tanker incident which you mention but is was not unusual to "launch for diversion" during my time in the RAF. In other words you get airborne to get the job done and on return to base/completion of the task or a some later stage of the flight, you see what the weather is like at your intended landing airfield. If it's too poor, you divert. You would always carry fuel such that when you arrived at the "first" diversion airfield, you had enough to divert again. This was probably more common on the tanker as many other sorties depended on it getting airborne.
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Old 30th Jan 2004, 16:12
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Word on the street is that BA is looking to sue BAA regarding the debarcle at Heathrow yesterday morning over de-icing of outbounds.
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Old 30th Jan 2004, 17:27
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Amazing how everyone is such an expert! (Especially on the thread about the diversions). How many of the experts work on airfields and faced the specific problems?

I work on an airfield. I have some working knowledge of the current supplies of de-icing fluids and solids availalbe. There are currently only three suppliers of liquid with a longer holdover time than the cheaper varieties and the cost differential of these three is not great.

On Wednesday the airfield was fully de-iced - no expense spared - and NOTHING "watered - down" (what a fatuous comment to suggest this). Snow was forecast. It came, the de-icer held. But the Met Forecasters never forecast the heavy rain that came and removed all the de-icer in a mere 15 minutes.

You do not then go out in the middle of a downpour and apply de-icing fluid. The heavy rain turned to thick wet snow and temp dropped from above freezing to below in minutes. No de-icing fluid, heavy wet precipitation and sub zero temps which lead to glazed ice.

Well please tell me Mr. Gritter Tsar - how do you remove that!

I don't think these weather conditions are typical of North American nor Continental conditions, however, if someone out there can tell how;
a)you prevent the glazed ice forming under these conditions, or b)a rapid (and feasible) method of removal, please do enlighten us.
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Old 30th Jan 2004, 19:30
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Dude, that's a very good explination. Not sure how many about realised the problems faced over the past day or two.

But, you can usderstand the frustration of many involved in the industry. The forecast had this on the cards for days and days, and just like last year, things went t!ts up.

Deep breaths..................
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Old 30th Jan 2004, 21:08
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Well said GK430.

I for one as a former Meteorology student fully concur with your analysis. As a user, I have to say in the rapidly changing conditions, the airport boys and girls did well. Shame some of the local authorities and train companies didn't do so well.

Given that de-icer comes by road from various locations across the UK, presumably, the airfields rely on the motorway network for their supplies. So if the roads are out, the de-icant use clock starts ticking.

Well done to all the other GK430 types who work airside and take all the wx and then take the usual comments from uninformed members of the aviation community.
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Old 30th Jan 2004, 22:35
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In an ironic way about 10 tonnes of De-icing fluid were being flown out of LTN on saturday to turkey.
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Old 31st Jan 2004, 19:16
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Thanks for the explanation GK430 but can you answer some more questions? How come the roads around the airports didnt suffer from "glazed ice"? How much does the most expensive fluid cost, more or less than a litre of jet fuel? (not to mention the cost of extra flight time and diversions) How much fluid/grit could be purchased and held in reserve with the money lost from landing fees due to diversions? Why do you call it "DE-ICE fluid" when you use it as anti-ice? Why did one major airport manage to have its runway open but be closed because of slippery taiways?
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Old 31st Jan 2004, 22:50
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Bit of an angry first post there alfalpha.
not sure bout the ground view but from the aviators point of view
The roads around my house most definately did suffer from rapid freezing rain, snow and drizzle. De-icing fluid costs way more than jet fuel cetainly based on the ammount we get charged for it. I think the problem has been explained as not the stockpiles but the rather uncooperative weather.
The fluids used can both de-ice and anti-ice (well the aircraft ones can)
As for your final point there have been numerous incidents of aircraft recieving substantial damage in incidents at taxi speed and recent advice from the CAA on taxiway conditions has been covered elsewhere on PPRuNe but it does require a higher standard than it used to.

edited to add
have a read of this for the dangers of slippy taxi ways.
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Old 31st Jan 2004, 22:57
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I am no technical person, but am I not correct in thinking that roads are treated with a combination of grit and rocksalt and that this would have a rather negative effect on airframes and engines?
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Old 1st Feb 2004, 00:31
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Scottie's right - no salt based product is allowed airside. Not even on the airside roads.
The grit used airside has, allegedly, been shown to be digestible by engines - well, in small amounts, presumably.

GK430 hit several nails squarely on the head.

Also, LHRs problems were compounded by a/c that had been going out to depart when the bad weather hit having to return for extra de-icing treatment, so suddenly stands that were being held for incoming flights fill up and there's nowhere to put them in two shakes of a wotsit. That creates knock-on problems for ages.

Once a stand is occupied it is impossible for the machinery to go round them to treat them effectively.

However, as with anything, I'm sure there are lessons to be learned from this and HAL were very fortunate that the next day was clear blue sky which helped melt everything - eventually.
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Old 2nd Feb 2004, 17:26
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I can't discuss price - we go out to tender for our de-icing supplies. However it is not cheap when you put down in excess of 2k on a runway alone - but when you do it for operational safety, cost does not come into it. Solids are nearly thrice the price!
You should know that we can't use salt...........corrosion!
And everyone else is correct about UK views on grit - not a fanblades best friend.

Apologies, yes I could have improved upon my use of the term anti-icing as opposed to de-icing. However, I was a shade knackered and somewhat irritated by some of the less than knowledgeable comments appearing!

It can rain all it likes this week and if I need a fix of sunlight, I'll get airborne again
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Old 2nd Feb 2004, 19:36
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Regarding the loss or revenue due to diversions, I think it is a win win for an airport. They don't spent money on de-ant/icing and they get money when the flights land at the intended airport after the diversion.

Rwy in Sight
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