Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Like JD For Glycol

This trip, I ended up out on the ramp waiting for our plane. A ramper stomped by for a smoke break and we started up a conversation about the de-ice truck. For those of you who've never flown in the snow, this is how it works: snow falls down, and gets all over the wings of the plane. The wing is no longer shaped like a wing since there is now three inches of snow on it, and the go-in-the-airedness of a plane depends on the wings being shaped like wings. So, the de-ice truck. It's a large beast with a cherry picker on the front, and a guy in the cherry picker shoots a glycol cannon at the snow on the wings. It's about 180 degrees, this glycol, and both melts the snow and glycolizes the wings so that no new snow sticks to them. Usually, a word like beast to describe a truck would be just more hyperbole on my part, but at night when the truck has its yellow flashers on, it really looks like it's breathing fire all over us.
So... I asked this guy if it's any fun to be the glycol blaster. He said it was, unless you're in the convertible one (one of them is a tiny cockpit at the end of the arm, and the other is just a bucket). He went on to explain that the glycol gets all over you during the day and everything you eat tastes sweet because of it. Ick is what I replied. And then he said something that just might be a ramper joke, but I think it's funny enough that I'm going to take it as fact: when they ingest too much glycol, they have to take a shot of Jack Daniels to counter the effects of the glycol. Like I said, probably a terminological inexactitude, but I like imagining I work for an organization that issues you a shot of Kentucky whiskey before sending you home after a hard day's work.


Blogger Tracy Salas said...

Oh glycol. Being in that bucket gets very cold because there is nothing around to break the wind. we actually coat the plane with two types of fluid. De-Ice which is heated and melts everything then we get the the wings and tail with Anti-Ice. One gets rid of the snow the other keeps it of. We then have to do a tactile inspection to insure nothing had re-accumulated. If we are happy with it we let the pilots know what time we started at and they figure out how long they can be on the ground before the glycol becomes ineffective. because then if the plane does not take-off in time they have to come back and be de-iced again. all the glycol is designed to come off during the take-off.

The more you know!

10:48 PM  

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