Monday, March 01, 2010
De-icing at YYZ
Flew to Montreal this week for a couple of days at a workshop of "Out the Window" - a piece based on Liza Balkan's experience of witnessing a man die while resisting arrest, and the six years of legal ramblings as the legal system churned over her.
De-icing: what we do to planes to prevent their wings from collecting material that distorts their airfoil shape. If we let ice build up, the wings don't work and people (along with the planes that house them) fall from the sky. The Greeks got it wrong with Icarus - as we scale the heights it gets cold, not hot. Maybe if they had had bigger mountains they would have known. Regardless, either way can kill you, I suppose.
What I didn't know about de-icing was that it essentially is a spray coating of antifreeze that pretty much blows off over the course of a flight. All those houses under the flight path - especially just after lift-off - get a light shower of hydrocarbons as the anitfreeze sloughs away into the noise of takeoff and landing. I felt gross about it. Can't wait for the high-speed bullet train along the Toronto-Montreal corridor.