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Thread: Need to defrost plane

  1. #1
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    Default Need to defrost plane

    Happy Thanksgiving Gents,
    My plane is encased in a half inch of ice at the Palmer airport and I need to fly it on the weekend. I can't even get the wing covers off. Anyone know someone with a hanger I can hire to thaw it out?

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    you could use a weed burner and a large tarp.

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    That's plan B. I've got a huge propane heater but don't have the tarp. If I can't find a hanger that's what I'll do.

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    Old Parachutes work great for stuff like this as well.
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    So...I once talked with some Russian Anatov pilots who claim they once used (copious amounts of) vodka to de ice an Anatov that was stuck somewhere in Siberia. Of course, I didn't see this, but the entire crew's quarters of the plane I saw was completely filled with bottles of vodka. (Most likely for trading purposes as many of my coworkers were bringing them Levi's to trade for vodka, but you never know.)

    What I have seen is a parachute draped over a 747 nacelle at night at -5F with a single hobart heater inside, and that completely melted the ice off the tarmac to dry pavement and had it warm enough in an hour to work in a sweatshirt and use bare hands. Held it that way for almost 24 hrs. (changing a fuel control) So tarping both wings is probably your best bet.

    Good luck.

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    Quote Originally Posted by stid2677 View Post
    Old Parachutes work great for stuff like this as well.
    DOHHHH you barely beat me to it!

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    Quote Originally Posted by FL2AK-Old Town View Post
    DOHHHH you barely beat me to it!
    Would have been quicker, without the Vodka..
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    Another thing you might try is one of those "Hotsie" hot water pressure sprayers. Makes a hell of a mess but I once used one to un freeze a thrust reverser stuck (froze/iced in) in the down position. Worked great but htere was a lot of ice on that pad until spring.

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    Wouldn't it be easer to just buy a tarp?

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    How long would you have to bake your plane under a tarp to be sure all the water melting off is dry and not going to re-freeze after you pull off the tarp?
    We use parachutes on the slope to thaw stuff out but have had issues with re-freeze after you pull that heater...
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    I've done the Honda 2K with a hair dryer. It sucked. I hope someone chimes in with a hangar. Btw, that lock de icer stuff is basically super expensive glycol in a can. Once the ice is cleared off, a can or two of lock deicer does pretty well as an ant-ice agent.
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    I would think that buying a tarp and start the heater would be the most reliable avenue to at least get the ball rolling while you are waiting for someone that may or may not chime in. While the ice is heating up you could be getting the bulk of it off with a mop then its just a drying process from there.

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    Windshield de-icer spray cans. For that much ice it would take a lot though.
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    I keep a metal garden sprayer around just for de-icing. Mine holds three gallons of pink (potable water/non-toxic) RV anti freeze fluid. I heat it with the pump removed on the stove top then cap it and drive to Hood and apply it. Hot fluid pops the ice loose and washes off the frost and the anti freeze doesn't freeze up if the temps are reasonable. Flying it dries it off and there's no sign of pink residue. De-icing doesn't take much fluid but having three gallons in the can retains the heat well enough to get across town with plenty of time to use it. Tenting and heating wouldn't be my choice. Maybe one wing at a time. A long hose and a Red Dragon would be manageable. You could ask around and borrow one if you don't own one.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AK Mauler View Post
    Happy Thanksgiving Gents,
    My plane is encased in a half inch of ice at the Palmer airport and I need to fly it on the weekend.
    If the plane really does have a inch of ice on it should it be inspected before going flying?

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    Default Need to defrost plane

    I have a multifuel 70k btu torpedo heater that runs on diesel / kerosene / avgas that I would be happy to loan you if you track down a tarp. I'm 15 min from Palmer, just send me a pm. It needs to be plugged in but doesn't draw much, so a cheap skinny gauge extension cord will do it. Should thaw that thing out in a few hours, especially once you get some heat conducting through the metal fuselage. It thawed an inch of ice off nearly every surface of a two story house a couple weeks ago in about 6 hours. Took maybe 5 gallons of diesel to do it. Much faster/ easier than just using propane. Or a hair dryer.


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    Your plane's interior cavities will have condensed moisture everywhere and it'll stink for months. Your instruments and radios will suffer as well. It's your airplane.

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    Default Need to defrost plane

    I think you're going a little overboard with some of your doom and gloom.. The dry outside air will pull most of the residual moisture out rapidly as things cool down (especially in zero degree temps) and as the moisture tries to refreeze it will generally vaporize and be gone. I also think you're greatly exaggerating how long the smell will stick around, it's just not that pervasive in my experience.

    However, I speak NOT from experience thawing an airplane, though I've done it tenting frozen vehicles and the residual moisture and smell is basically a nonissue.

    Potentially harming the delicate electronica of a plane seems a significant concern though. Hopefully someone with a local hangar will help.

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    Thanks for the offer andweav, I ended up finding a hanger and the plane's sitting in there overnight but I appreciate the offer. Both my planes live outside year round and occasionally get covered in ice. Just part of the big adventure. Normally I have time to get it off but this is an unusual situation that requires immediate attention.

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