Private Jet Ice Protection Systems: What to Know

Ice Protection Systems are functions of an aircraft that protect it from accumulating atmospheric ice on its surfaces. The 2 categories, de-icing systems (ice removal) and anti-ice systems (ice prevention), work to make sure that ice isn’t a detrimental factor to any flight.

Jet in Clouds 600x400

Flying at altitude means the air is significantly colder.

We’ve gathered the most common types of ice protection systems found on private jets:

1) Pneumatic De-icing Boots

A pneumatic boot is just a layer (or multiple layers) of rubber in between air chambers on the aircraft wings & stabilizers. The chambers are rapidly inflated and deflated in various patterns, so that the adhesive force between the ice and rubber is broken. Pneumatic de-icing boots were first invented in 1923 by BF Goodrich.

The pneumatic boot is most commonly found on turboprop aircraft, though the system can also be found on larger piston prop aircraft and smaller jets.

Private Aircraft that use Pneumatic De-icing Boots: Cessna Grand Caravan, Beech BE90 King Air, Beech BE200 Super King Air, PC-12, Citation II, Beechjet 400, Gulfstream G100/150

2) Electro-thermal

The electro-thermal system uses resistive circuits within the airframe structure to generate heat when a current is applied – basically it’s like as if your bones could generate heat with the flick of a switch. This method does use more power in-flight, as pilots have the option to use it intermittently or constantly as “anti-ice mode.” Large commercial airliners use this method mainly.

Private Aircraft that use Electro-thermal De-icing: Boeing 787 Dreamliner

Deicing can be quite the spectacle!

Deicing can be quite the spectacle!

3) Bleed Air

The bleed-air systems are used mostly by larger jets by letting hot air “bleed” off the engine into tubes routed throughout the wings, tail surfaces and engine inlets to keep them warm. The “spent” air is then exhausted through holes in the lower surface of the wing once the circuit of hot air is complete.

This system is most commonly used by jets chartered by PrivateFly, and is the most energy-efficient.

Private Aircraft that use Bleed Air De-icing: Citation CJ3, Citation X, Phenom 300, Boeing 747, Airbus A380, Gulfstream family (G650, G550, GV, G450, GIV)

The Learjets and Falcons have a combination of bleed-air & pneumatic de-icing boots – while it features a bleed-air system on its wings, it has boots on the tail as a back-up measure.

4) Electro-mechanical

Similar to the electr0-thermal system, the electr0-mechanical system uses a mechanical force, similar to a shock wave, to dislodge ice from the aircraft surfaces.

A few manufacturers have managed to create lightweight, low-power systems that are in use on certain commercial & military aircraft.

Private Aircraft that use Electro-mechanical De-icing:  Beechcraft Premier I, Hondajet HA-420, Boeing P-8A (US Navy Aircraft)

A Citation Sovereign among the mountains.

A Citation Sovereign among the mountains.

5) TKS Ice Protection

One of the oldest methods of de-icing, the TKS Ice Protection system basically functions like windshield wipers on a car; traditional deicing fluid is installed in pumps in panels throughout the aircraft to be sprayed as needed.

Used primarily during World War II for the British RAF bombers, this system has generally been abandoned since.

6) Passive

Passive systems use hydrophobic surfaces to literally repel water and eliminate ice build-up. These ridged surfaces mimic natural phenomena to make the formation of ice patches impossible. This method is ingenious and efficient. Almost all current aircraft feature surfaces that are ice-resistant.

Remember, PrivateFly can help you offset the potential costs associated with de-icing.

Call our 24/7 flight team of experts at (866) 726-1222 or contact us online with any questions or any private jet charter requests.