Delta Air Lines employees work up a sweat at boot camp, learning how to de-ice planes

Category : Business

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. rotate / ˈroʊ teɪt / (v.) – to regularly change the person who does a particular job so that it is done by different people at different times

    They rotate the role of team leader every month to give everyone a chance to gain experience in leadership.

  2. depend on (something) / dɪˈpɛnd ɒn / (phrasal v.) – to determine or decide on something based on certain conditions

    The product’s price depends on the cost of the materials and how much work is done to make it.

  3. untreated / ˌʌnˈtriːtɪd / (adj.) – not cleaned or made safer by using chemicals to make something safe for use

    She became sick after drinking untreated water.

  4. aloft / əˈlɔft / (adv.) – in the air

    Balloons can remain aloft for several hours.

  5. newbie / ˈnu bi / (n.) – someone who has just begun a particular activity or job

    Newbies are required to go through a two-week training.


Read the text below.

Delta Air Lines has learned that summer is a good time to prepare for winter — and how to de-ice planes so they can keep flying safely in freezing temperatures.

Every summer, Delta brings about 400 workers to Minneapolis for a three-day summer de-ice “boot camp.” They go through computer-based training, watch demonstrations by instructors, and then practice spraying down a plane — using water instead of the chemicals found in de-icing fluid.

The boot campers, who rotate through in groups of 10 or so, return to their home bases and train 6,000 co-workers before October, says Jeannine Ashworth, vice president of airport operations for the Atlanta-based airline.

Here’s how the de-icing process works: Big trucks with tanks of deicing mixture pull up alongside a plane, and an operator in a bucket at the top of a long boom sprays hot fluid that melts ice but doesn’t refreeze because of the chemicals it contains, mainly propylene glycol.

It takes anywhere from a few minutes to 40 minutes or longer to de-ice a plane, depending on the conditions and the size of the plane.

Planes need to be de-iced because if left untreated, ice forms on the body and wings, interfering with the flow of air that keeps the plane aloft. Even a light build-up can affect performance. In worst cases, ice can cause planes to go into an aerodynamic stall and fall from the sky.

De-icing “is the last line of defense in winter operations for a safe aircraft,” says Dustin Foreman, an instructor who normally works at the Atlanta airport. “If we don’t get them clean, airplanes can’t fly. They won’t stay in the air. Safety first, always.”

The hardest part of the training? Getting newbies comfortable with the big trucks, says Michael Ruby, an instructor from Detroit who has been de-icing planes since 1992, when he sprayed down Fokker F27 turboprops for a regional airline. “The largest vehicle that they’ve ever driven is a Ford Focus. The trucks are 30 feet long, to say nothing about the boom going up in the air. There are a lot of different switches,” Ruby says.

 This article was provided by The Associated Press.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

  • How do airlines in your country show transparency in their safety procedures and preparedness efforts? Is an airline’s transparency about these aspects a significant factor for you when choosing an airline? Why or why not? Discuss.
  • Would you consider booking a flight with an airline that had a safety issue in the past? Why or why not? Discuss.

Discussion B

  • What problems do businesses in your country commonly face during seasonal transitions or changes? Do you think they’re able to give effective solutions to such problems? Why or why not? Discuss.
  • What products/services do businesses in your city/country offer during winter? How about in summer? How do these products/services help people manage the challenges that these seasons bring? Discuss.
Category : Business