In an effort to help corporate jet operators save money on anti-icing fluid treatment and cut down on wasted fluid application, Walter Randa, founder of Leading Edge Deicing Specialists, has developed a new Type IV anti-ice spray system.
Operators pay thousands of dollars for a deicing followed by an anti-ice treatment, Randa explained. Typically, the Type I deicing fluid is applied by trucks with huge nozzles that pump 2,000 to 3,000 gallons a minute, followed by application of the Type IV anti-icing fluid, which is designed to protect the aircraft for up to an hour before takeoff.
Leading Edge’s new Wing Armor sprayer for business jets is designed for anti-icing, not deicing, because it doesn’t include a fluid heater. Since it is sized for business jets, the sprayer dispenses only the appropriate amount of Type IV fluid. The Wing Armor sprayer is intended only for anti-icing, so the aircraft needs to be deiced first, preferably chemical-free by spending time in a warm hangar.
Randa sees two major markets: FBOs and corporate operators that have their own hangar. The Wing Armor anti-ice sprayer saves money on deicing but, by allowing the Type IV-treated jet to taxi directly to the runway instead of first to a deicing pad, it also reduces delays that cut into pilot duty time.
A Wing Armor application can treat a G650 in 15 minutes, according to Randa, using about $300 worth of fluid. Even with hangar charges for a jet that is away from base, the $30,000 Wing Armor sprayer can soon pay for itself with savings on typical deicing charges. The system has a 60-gallon stainless-steel tank, dual application guns and dual meters, and it is low enough to fit underneath the wings of most business jets. A tow bar allows the sprayer to be moved around with a tug, and all-up weight is less than 1,000 pounds with the tank full of Type IV fluid.
Canada-based Leading Edge’s specialty is teaching people how to apply deicing and anti-icing fluids safely and efficiently. One of the tools that Randa uses in his on-site FAA-approved classes is an inflatable Learjet, which allows students to learn how to spray without risk of damaging a real aircraft.
“What we’re really pushing is not just the equipment, but the training,” he said. “We want these corporate operators to operate safely; it’s got to be the done right way. If you don’t put enough Type IV on and try to make it to the runway, it will attract contamination.”
Leading Edge offers four- and eight-hour courses. The day-long course begins with classroom instruction, followed by practical training in the afternoon. “Practical is just as important as theoretical,” he said. “They learn the proper angles and distance from the surface. I’m an absolute believer in hands-on. They’ll have a little experience under their belt.”
Randa recommends that pilots, too, take the course so they understand how deicing and anti-icing fluids should be applied. “When they leave their home base,” he said, “it’s really the pilots who have to know everything. The responsibility falls on the flight crew.”