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De-icing centre.

English: De-icing centre.

French: Centre de dégivrage.

Continuing our short lesson on aircraft de-icing, know that most airports in the world that deal with winter weather conditions will also have de-icing facilities. Most certainly, any commercial airport in Canada would have these facilities, given our winters here. Each airport can decide how to run its own de-icing operations. Smaller airports may let the de-icing truck come and spray the airplane right at the gate before it even leaves the gate for the runway. Larger airports might have a “de-icing centre”, sometimes known as a “central de-icing facility” (Your pilots might refer to this as the CDF), requiring all airplanes to push back from the gate, taxi over to the de-icing centre and wait in line for de-icing there. Many de-icing trucks may be operating at the de-icing centre, processing multiple planes at once.

Centre (m)=Centre


Dégivrage (m)=De-icing

Centre de dégivrage=De-icing centre.

Occasionally, you’ll also hear both in French and in English “la baie de dégivrage” “the de-icing bay”.

As mentioned previously, de-icing is the process by which the snow, frost and/or ice is removed from the wings and critical surfaces. Anti-icing is done to prevent new snow, frost and/or ice from forming, namely while de-icing is done when precipitation is still coming down and sticking to the wings and critical surfaces.

De-icing fluid is usually sprayed onto the aircraft. It’s usually orange in colour and you’ll often hear your pilots refer to it as “Type-I” (Type one) fluid. Anti-icing fluid is usually sprayed on afterwards, if necessary. It’s usually green in colour and you’ll hear your pilots refer to it as “Type IV” (Type four) fluid. These fluids have a “holdover time”, meaning that the fluid is only effective for a certain period of time after it is applied. If the airplane does not take off before that time has elapsed (because of unexpectedly long wait times for take-off, for example), the fluid is no longer effective and the plane likely needs to be de-iced again.

The time each airplane spends de-icing depends on how much snow/frost/ice there is to remove, how hard it is to remove, and if anti-icing needs to be done afterwards. During conditions where de-icing is necessary, if the number of planes trying to take off far exceeds what the de-icing centre can handle, then this is one reason why weather and de-icing might cause flight cancellations. Wait times just to get to the de-icing centre can reach an hour or two or more when weather conditions are bad and each plane takes much longer than usual to de-ice. The pilots need to plan to take enough fuel, as even idling on the ground, waiting in line for de-icing, will burn large amounts of fuel. Of course, the pilots need to make sure that after all that waiting for de-icing, your plane still has enough fuel left to fly to its destination. If not, you’re going to need to return to the gate again to get refueled, by which time the holdover time will have expired and you’ll need to get de-iced again. What a headache the weather and de-icing can be for everyone! However, knowing the reasoning behind this important process will help you and your passengers understand the situation better.

The French taught in our Canadian French for Flight Attendants audio course derives directly from real-life flight attendant situations such as de-icing, mechanical issues, flight diversions, and much more.


Want to learn to speak the French you need to work as a flight attendant? Learn even more with Canadian French for Flight Attendants.


Happy August long weekend. I'm in Ottawa again visiting this weekend and I'm reminded of one of my favourite restaurants in the Byward Market in downtown Ottawa. They served delicious Chinese hand-pulled noodles in soup. Unfortunately, a few months ago, there was a fire a few doors down, and this restaurant as well was damaged in the fire. The restaurant is called "Le Mien" and this picture was taken the last time I took a flight attendant colleague there on a layover before the fire. We both loved it. I'm eagerly waiting for them to re-open.

In French, "le mien" means "mine" (referring to masculine nouns). Le téléphone? C'est le mien. The telephone? It's mine.

In English, it doesn't really mean anything.

It's derived from Chinese "la mian" meaning "pulled noodles".


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