BASED ON THE GROUND SERVICING problems at Dublin Airport, I'm sure there are military notices to airmen about the way the Dublin Airport Authority conducts business in icing conditions. Speaking as a former C-141 instructor pilot (the bird at left), I am not impressed by the problems arising at Ireland's largest airport. The airport has been closed with frozen slush on the tarmac and there are apparently problems with the de-icing fluid as well. The biggest challenge we used to face when trying to take off in snow and ice concerned the holdover time that started ticking after application of the fluid. As crew in a big cargo jet, we often waited behind flag carriers at international airports, resulting in extended times from starting engines to taking off. Once our stopwatch passed 30 minutes from getting de-iced, we normally had to return to the gate area for another de-icing. Dublin Airport's problems seem to be with its inability to clean the de-icing fluid from the ground after it drips off aircraft. By its very nature, it's very slippery and that means you'll end up on your back after walking through puddles of it. Within an hour of its application, de-icing fluid can become as dangerous as freezing rain. If the Dublin Airport ramp crews have no method of scrubbing and scraping the hardstands, the airport authority will soon find many of its hardstands unsuable until they are cleaned and that may mean waiting for a warm day when street sweepers can scrub or dilute the residue. If I had to make a flight into or out of Dublin Airport during the next fortnight, I'd look at other airports instead. The current winter weather has defeated Dublin Airport's ability to keep its parking and servicing ramps clean.
Photo in the public domain from Staff Sgt Simons.