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'Fighting Tigers' Prepare for Winter Season in Northern Japan

Navy News Service

Story Number: NNS121108-05

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Pedro A. Rodriguez, Patrol Squadron 8 Public Affairs

NAVAL AIR FACILITY MISAWA, Japan (NNS) -- With winter weather right around the corner in northern Japan, the "Fighting Tigers" of Patrol Squadron (VP) 8 conducted de-icing training Oct. 31.

To the "Fighting Tigers," who are used to operating in the warm weather of their homeport of Jacksonville, Fla., conducting de-icing training is an important necessity to ensure the safety of the aircrew flying the aircraft, and the maintainers who work on the flight line.

VP-8 conducted the de-icing drill to train and prepare their maintenance personnel and flight crews for inclement winter weather. Maintenance personnel gained the skills necessary to operate deicing equipment ensuring they are capable of safely and effectively removing any ice buildup and snow on the aircraft's fuselage, wings, and control surfaces.

"Snow and ice can be very dangerous during flight," said VP-8 Safety/NATOPS Officer Lt. Cmdr. Leroy Shoesmith. "Too much ice on the wings will decrease the amount of lift needed for the aircraft to safely fly. In the air we have systems that help us with ice removal, but on the ground these systems are ineffective. During pre-flight snow and ice buildup needs to be removed manually by aircrew and our maintenance team. Special equipment which applies a liquid anti-ice mixture to the aircraft is then used to prevent any additional buildup prior to takeoff," added the Poconos, Pa. native.

The drill consisted of a simulated preflight performed by VP-8 aircrew who called for a maintenance deicing crew. With the GL-1800 Global Deicing truck on scene VP-8 Sailors conducted the necessary training to de-ice and ready an aircraft to go flying in winter conditions.

Aircrew got to experience the amount of time and manpower it takes to properly deice an aircraft. VP-8 aircrews have not routinely operated in cold, icy environment since late 2008.

"There are very few individuals in the squadron that have ever operated in and around snow. Training and preparation ensures we are ready to execute our duties in all conditions without sacrifice to safety or proper procedure," said Shoesmith. "Everyone got a front row view of what should happen. Maintenance personnel who attended the training got the opportunity to participate in operating the equipment, and all aircrew got to see just how the process will work. I know that everyone is significantly more aware of the processes and safety concerns involved in this evolution."

The Fla.-based Fighting Tigers are on a six-month scheduled deployment in support of U.S. 7th Fleet.

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