Airplane boots

Flying airplanes gather ice. It’s cold up there. That ice can get into the machinery and cause significant danger. So how do you keep the ice away? The same way we do: with rubber boots.

Deicing Boot
Olivier Cleynen [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Aircraft designers have come up with many ways to deal with the icing problem: heated wings, “weeping” wings that secrete an anti-icing fluid, and wings that route exhaust from the engines onto the wings (“bleed air”). My favourite is the deicing boot.

Basically, it’s a big rubber sheathe that fits over the wing. When ice accumulates, the rubber is inflated and the ice breaks off. Then you deflate the rubber and fly on in safety.


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