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Southwest Airlines Community

Deicing Da Plane

Frequent Flyer B
Propylene glycol. Sounds fascinating, no? Is it a food additive? Is it used to regulate humidity in cigar humidors? Perhaps it is used to make artificial smoke such as you would find at your local night club? Maybe it is used in cat food? Well, no, it is not used in cat food for some reason, but propylene glycol is used to deice our aircraft and in all of the above uses (except the cat food--that was a joke) as well and a whole lot more. This episode of Red Belly Radio is about propylene glycol which our Ground Ops Employees call “deicing fluid.”

My guest is Jay from Ground Ops Training, and he walks us through an aircraft deicing and discloses the answer to what led me to seeking someone for this interview in the first place. Listen to learn what city uses the most deicing fluid in Southwest's 64-city route network.
Aviator C
Steve, Although I have been part of the deicing process, you podcast brought additional information. The only thing it lacked was the pancake syrupy smell of glycol. Brian
Frequent Flyer B
Hmmmm. Pancake syrup.
Explorer B
Hi Steve, Great topic this week. This is a really cool thing to see being done to the aircraft if you are able to brave the cold weather I would highly recommend it. Also with the opening of MSP I think they will be moving into the number 1 spot for the most fluid used next year. Take Care, Rachel
Explorer C
How many deicing trucks are they in Portland,Oregon? How many deicing they in Tucson,Arizona? During Snowstorm 2008 in Portland,Oregon some of deicing trucks had problems. do you guys have ways to fix the deicing trucks? -Mark Pedersen Tualatin,Oregon
Explorer A
Good Stuff Steve! My company prohibits departures into any freezing precipitation but when you need to deice it's nice to have the right stuff and the right people to do it. With a safety record like Southwest's it's easy to see that it's done when needed and done correctly. Great cast!
Explorer C
Great topic! If our operations in Buffalo were the size of Chicago Midway, hands down we would be the leader of de-icing fluid usage in the system especially this winter. Although we use a lot of fluid, we take pride that every Boeing is a goin' with a clean red belly to safely transport our customers.
Explorer C
Nice topic here indeed.How many de/anti-icing fluid,could you think, will be probably used in 2009?is there any deicing/anti-icing companies for recommendation?
Explorer C
Reminds me of the very first time I flew Southwest. We were in the process of moving from Florida to Texas. I was scheduled to fly back for Christmas. An ice storm hit Austin. I showed up at the old Austin Mueller Airport and it looked like a scene from the evening news. People were already lying on the floor, the entire terminal was full of stranded travelers. I had heard from other passengers the deicing equipment was broken and nothing was getting in or out of Austin that night. Great. I went to the gate and asked. She assured me that while the airport's deicing equipment was down, Southwest had their own. She typed in my flight number and said that since my plane was coming in from a warm weather city (PHX) and going to a warm weather city (MCO) my flight was on time. And guess what, it was. I swear it was the only plane to come and go on time that evening. Today the only time I don't fly Southwest is when I'm flying to Atlanta (hint, hint).