WATCH: Behind the Scenes – PIT Crews Ready for Deicing Push

Ice, snow removal from planes displays delicacy, attention to detail

By Julie Bercik

Published February 3, 2023

Read Time: < 1 min


It’s 33 degrees, windy, with light snow during the 6 a.m. rush at Pittsburgh International Airport. The Charlie Deicing Pad is busy as crews with Integrated Deicing Services help get planes ready for take-off.

“One does what we call the primary side or the captain’s side, and one does the secondary side, or the FO side,” said Anthony Gazda, Operations Supervisor with Integrated Deicing Services. “That way it gets done symmetrically and uniformly.”

Cold weather means planes must be de-iced and the behind-the-scenes process involves attention to detail at Pittsburgh International Airport.

Crews apply different treatments to aircraft depending on need, and captured deicing fluid is recycled by the airport.

“Given the conditions, the flight crews will run their checklist and their charts, and… we ask them what they want,” Gazda said.

Type One is for de-icing, while Type Four, which has a green color, is for anti-icing.

“Type Four, the anti-ice, we will lay that on after we de-ice it,” Gazda said. “It builds a barrier between the surface and the containments.”

It takes five to 10 minutes to de-ice a plane. Most planes use the Charlie Pad, while larger aircraft use the Sierra Pad. The busiest times are early morning and around 5 p.m.

Deicing doesn’t just happen when the temperature is near or below freezing.

“When it’s 40 degrees, 50 degrees when the plane gets refueled, the wings (can) frost up and we’ve got to take care of that,” Gazda said.

Crews have deiced more than 1,700 planes at PIT since October 1, 2022.

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