In moto racing, they use tire warmer to keep tires hot when the tire is not running.

In particular weather conditions (e.g. heavy snow), aircraft require de-icing operation after staying parked for few tenth of minutes.

Do any device to protect the wings and other parts of the aircraft requiring to be free from ice before take off from icing and possibly keeping those parts above icing temperature exist? It could save some deicing time (and de-icing fluid) by reducing the amount of ice accumulated while the aircraft is on the ground.

EDIT: When asking the question, I was thinking of airliners between two legs in winter in Canada (with jetbridge connected, only few tenth of minutes before next scheduled leg, international airport ground support available,... and snow and icing conditions). I don't think the question should be restricited to this case, but it should take it into account.

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    $\begingroup$ There is something called a hangar that does just that. $\endgroup$ Feb 24, 2016 at 16:48
  • $\begingroup$ In certain conditions, if a plane has sat long enough, it will be de-iced more than once as needed. $\endgroup$
    – Timpanus
    Feb 24, 2016 at 16:52
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    $\begingroup$ I would imagine that most answers will be something along the lines of "if integrated heaters were installed, the energy consumption and weight of such devices would cost more in fuel to transport them for every flight than they would save in time not being deiced". There's also the "the time and money spent by the airport/airlines to purchase, store, inspect, install and remove external covers (for every potential aircraft) is greater than the time and money spent to run through the deicing shower (that fits all aircraft) prior to take off". $\endgroup$
    – FreeMan
    Feb 24, 2016 at 17:05
  • $\begingroup$ @SMSvonderTann Airliners are rarely put into hangar between two legs as they are grounded for only few tenth of minutes. $\endgroup$
    – Manu H
    Feb 24, 2016 at 22:30
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    $\begingroup$ @ManuH Well, that comment was put before you edited your question to say that. $\endgroup$ Feb 24, 2016 at 22:59

1 Answer 1


The standard solution for keeping aircraft parts "above icing temperature" when on the ground is, as was pointed out in the comments, a nice heated hangar.
This has the secondary benefit of keeping all the other components at a warmer temperature where they're more amenable to operating (gyros spin up better, wheel bearings rotate more easily, etc.)

Once outside of a hangar deicing fluid is used, and provides "anti-icing" protection for a specific period (the fluid's "holdover time") - we discussed that in more detail on this question.
Obviously once the aircraft has been exposed to icing conditions or snowfall for a period exceeding that holdover time it must be de-iced again as there is a chance for ice to begin accumulating.

There is also the potential to use the aircraft's ice protection systems (in particular electro-thermal systems such as used in the Boeing 787 which heat the wing in the manner you allude to in your question), though I'm not aware if any systems are currently approved to be used in this way.
One of the key challenges there would be verifying that the wing surface is indeed free of ice, snow, and frost - that's easy to do from the deicing truck (particularly since deicing fluid is tinted so you can see where it has been applied), but on a typical passenger jet the pilots can't see the wing from the cockpit, and poor visibility from blowing snow, fog, etc. may make the visual determination difficult from the cabin as well.


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