Aircraft Ground De-Icing/Anti-Icing Operations

ICAO Requirements and Guidance


The successful treatment of ice and snow deposits on aeroplanes on the ground is an absolute necessity to the safety of winter operations. Requirements and guidance can be found in the following ICAO documents:


Annex 6 — Operation of Aircraft, Part I — International Commercial Air TransportAeroplanes
References to ground de-icing/anti-icing are in Part I, with a requirement for de-icing/anti-icing treatment and inspection prior to take-off in suspected or known ground icing conditions: A flight to be planned or expected to operate in suspected or known ground icing conditions shall not take off unless the aeroplane has been inspected for icing and, if necessary, has been given appropriate de-icing/anti-icing treatment. Accumulation of ice or other contaminants shall be removed so that the aeroplane is kept in an airworthy condition prior to take-off.
      Note.- Guidance material is given in the Manual of Aircraft Ground De-icing/Anti-icing Operations (Doc 9640)

    Part I, Appendix 2, 5.6 requires instructions for the conduct and control of ground de-icing/anti-icing operations to be included in an operator's Operations Manual.


    The Preparation of an Operations Manual (Doc 9376) Second Edition 1997, 8.7.3 also provides guidance on the content of an operations manual with respect to de-icing/anti-icing operations.


    Annex 14 — Aerodromes, Volume I — Aerodrome Design and Operations and the Aerodrome Design Manual, Part 2 — Taxiways, Aprons and Holding Bays (Doc 9157) also contain references to ground de-icing/anti-icing requirements.


    The Manual of Aircraft Ground De-icing/Anti-icing Operations (Doc 9640) Second Edition 2000, provides a general description of the various factors relating to aeroplane icing on the ground. It addresses the minimum procedural requirements necessary to conduct safe and efficient operations during those conditions which require aeroplane de-icing and anti-icing activities. The "clean aircraft concept" is described. The second edition refers to Types I, II, III and IV fluids and also to methods for de-icing which do not use fluids. Examples of application and holdover time tables are provided for Types I, II and IV fluids. The second edition also contains material on equipment, quality assurance programmes and the annual updating of holdover time guidelines and de-icing/anti-icing procedures. The primary purpose in the publication of this manual was to encourage international standardization of de-icing/anti-icing activities.


    These documents can be purchased directly from ICAO through the ICAO Store. Training and qualification of de-icing personnel is the responsibility of the operators and the States concerned. ICAO does not have requirements concerning the licensing of personnel for the conduct of de-icing/anti-icing operations.


    Annual updating of information on qualified fluids, holdover time guidelines and procedures


    Holdover times and procedures are continually updated by an international group of experts under the auspices of the Society of Automobile Engineers (SAE) G-12 Committee on Aircraft Ground De-icing/Anti-icing through its Holdover Testing Committee. This group of experts is composed of representatives of the world's airlines, anti-icing fluid manufacturers, aviation regulatory authorities and research organizations.


    De-icing/anti-icing fluids are qualified to the appropriate specification by certified laboratories. Qualified fluids are tested jointly by the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Transport Canada to establish the fluid endurance time data, from which the holdover time guidelines are generated by the Holdover Testing Committee. The de-icing/anti-icing procedures are developed by the Methods Subcommittee. The holdover time guidelines and procedures are approved by the SAE Aerospace Council.


    The approved documents are published by: Transport Canada in an Advisory Circular; the United States FAA in a Flight Standards Information Bulletin for Air Transportation (FSAT) and the SAE in Aerospace Recommended Procedures.


    The FAA and Transport Canada publications are published annually and are usually available prior to the start of winter in the Northern Hemisphere. The FAA and Transport Canada also publish a list of qualified de-icing/anti-icing fluids, together with holdover time guidelines for specific fluids that have superior performance to the generic tables.


    Links to other sites:


    Information and Training Material on Ground and In-flight Icing




    Knowing in which conditions aircraft icing can occur, how to detect it, appropriate measures to be taken and recovery techniques in case of wing or tail plane stall is crucial for the safe operation of aircraft. There is training material in various media which is available either freely or for sale. To increase the level of pilot proficiency in this subject, ICAO is providing information on training material available to the aviation community.


    If you would like to have training material listed on this page, please provide us with a complimentary copy for evaluation.




    Please note that ICAO does not approve or recommend any information or training material listed below. ICAO accepts no responsibility or liability whether direct or indirect, as to the currency, accuracy or quality of the information, or for any consequences of its use.


    Learn more on de-icing and anti-icing


    • A Pilot's Guide to Ground Icing
      This is a free, online course primarily intended for professional pilots who make their own operational de-icing and anti-icing decisions. This includes pilots who fly business, corporate, air taxi, or freight operations in fixed-wing aircraft ranging from business jets to single-engine turboprops.
      The course discusses the risks of contamination, cues to alert the pilot to ground icing hazards, and actions to help ensure safe operations.


    • A Pilot's Guide to In-Flight Icing
      This is a free, online course primarily intended for the general aviation pilot who flies aircraft certified for flight in icing, although much of the information is applicable to all pilots. With an operational focus, this course provides tools pilots can use to deal with in-flight icing. Emphasis is on avoidance, detection and exit, as well as the effects of ice accretion on performance and handling and the particular hazard of Supercooled Large Droplet (SLD) icing.

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