Aircraft Deicing Innovation for Safety and Efficiency with Vaisala's CheckTime
Vaisala’s CheckTime solution uses precision weather measurement equipment at each airport to measure the atmospheric conditions. With the help of real-time environmental data, Vaisala is able to provide dynamic decision support information to the pilot. Using the onboard ACARS computer, CheckTime provides pilots with automated information on how weather impacts de- and anti-icing fluids on an aircraft. This information improves airline efficiency and reduces costs and environmental impacts from the excess use of anti-icing fluids during winter weather events.
During winter precipitation airlines deice and anti-ice the aircraft to ensure safe operation. The deicing step removes any contaminants from the surfaces of the aircraft. Thereafter, the anti-icing process covers these surfaces once again, especially the aircraft's wings, with a protective fluid that absorbs precipitation, thus keeping the surfaces of the aircraft free of contaminates.
Currently, pilots use Holdover timetables to provide an estimated amount of time the aircraft can be exposed to the present environmental conditions to ensure a safe departure. These timetables are based on prevailing visibility as a function of precipitation intensity, precipitation type, and air temperature, and assume the conditions remain constant. The timetables are cumbersome for pilots and cause added distraction among other departure procedures. The tables are also at times inaccurate as they do not factor in the changing weather.
Reliable, Up-to-the-Minute Information
Vaisala’s CheckTime solution has made that all easier for the pilot. CheckTime uses precision weather measurement equipment to measure the Liquid Water Equivalent, the amount of water in the precipitation and calculates the fluid saturation point using this information. With the help of real-time environmental data, Vaisala is able to provide dynamic decision support information to the pilot via the airline ACARS computer in the cockpit. No more guesswork or complicated extrapolation tables. Instead, the pilot receives a CheckTime message that is updated once a minute and the pilot is able to maintain awareness of the state of the fluids on the aircraft.
Industry-leading, Sustainable Alternative
As a thought leader in the aviation industry, Vaisala has installed weather monitoring systems at some of the largest winter weather airports around the world. As a member of the SAE International Committee of Deicing Standards, Vaisala has been in an influential role to set the deicing standards for airlines worldwide.
In 2014, Vaisala and Finnair have signed an agreement which brings CheckTime into operative use. By making optimized decisions on de-icing and anti-icing fluids, Finnair can further improve their operational efficiency with regards to cost savings as well as help further reduce their environmental footprint.