The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) is reminding operators to be mindful of how certain de-icing fluids present hazards to aircraft, and urges airport operators to disseminate information about the fluids it is using.
Among the primary concerns: exposure of carbon brakes to alkali-organic salt in certain types of de- and anti-icing fluid. Brakes are exposed both during normal ground operations and as chunks of snow mixed with fluid freeze on landing gear and inside the wheel well, and then melt,
"The presence of the alkali-organic salt creates a catalytic condition lowering the temperature oxidation of the carbon, resulting in structural deterioration of the carbon disc material and reducing the service life and long-term efficiency of the brakes," EASA notes in a recent Safety Information Bulletin (SIB). "This leads to a concern that may have safety consequences."
EASA asks airport operators to report the types of fluids used on runways and taxiways. EASA's bulletin lists specific codes for generic fluids and solid materials, and asks airports to include the codes in special winter-operations notices—dubbed Snowtams—or the Aeronautical Information Publication.
Aircraft operators should have information on the de/anti-icing substances used at the aerodromes they operate to and from, in order to assess the exposure of their aircraft to these substances and adjust their maintenance program," EASA says.
In the past, EASA has warned of the ramifications of aircraft being exposed to different fluids through de-icing processes at multiple airports during a day. In some cases, the effectiveness of some fluids is lowered when applied to an aircraft that has been de-iced using a salt-based product.