Before any plane takes off, it is always sprayed with water by truck-like vehicles. This is known as ‘deicing’ in aviation terminology. Deicing is important as a maintenance process that removes snow, ice or frost from the surfaces of the aeroplane. The fluid used in deicing is a mixture of glycol and water. This fluid is heated and sprayed under pressure to eliminate ice and snow.
Aeroplanes are always designed to operate with clean surfaces. On colder seasons, ice and snow can affect flow of air and lead to serious safety concerns during taking off. Aviation regulations requires that an aeroplanes’ wings and tail be free of snow, ice, and frost before takeoff.
Ice is dangerous since it alters the wing’s shape and texture. A clean wing surface is important for optimal aerodynamic performance, but frost turns it into something resembling sandpaper. Snow is even worse, as it significantly affects the wing’s aerodynamic shape.
On a ‘clean’ wing, air flows smoothly, adhering to the surface. However, on a wing contaminated with frost or snow, the airflow becomes turbulent, causing a loss of lift, which can be perilous.