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© Copyright 2016, John Crosley/Crosley Trust, All Rights Reserved, No reproduction or other use without prior express permission from copyright holder

'The Wing De-Icer at Work'


Software: Adobe Photoshop CC 2015 (Windows)


© Copyright 2016, John Crosley/Crosley Trust, All Rights Reserved, No reproduction or other use without prior express permission from copyright holder

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This is a airline wing de-icer at work spraying its anti-freeze liquid over the wing of

an Airbus jumbo passenger jet when the outdoor temperature is just a degree below

freezing. Ice formations at any temperature may change the shape of the wing, alter

its lift characteristics, and ultimately cause the pilots to make wrong decisions

leading to a crash on take-off and climb-out, so wings must be freed of even the

chance of ice and/or snow just prior to take-off. Your ratings, critiques, and

remarks are invited and most welcome. If you rate harshly, very critically, or wish to

make an observation, please submit a helpful and constructive comment; please

share your photographic knowledge to help improve my photography. Thanks!

Enjoy! john (Crosley)

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What are the odds I'd be sitting in the row exactly over the wing which had absolutely the best view making the best composition (my view) of the wing and the de-icing machine as it began to work on this huge Airbus A300 jumbo jet which carries hundreds of passengers?


Most passengers had never seen such a thing, and the odds of catching a silhouette of the de-icer, the plane wing and the spray as the workman in his cab began his chore (which included directing spray directly at my window), was never seen by probably 90% of the passengers on the aircraft, though many didn't care.


If they knew the consequences of a large snow or ice buildup (even in short time in a storm) they would have cared more, as 'lift' required for takeoff in places like Chicago during the time between leaving the gate where de-icing formerly took place and leaving the runway could be half an hour to sometimes two hours (formerly, I emphasize), and planes have been known to crash as their lift was destroyed by snow and ice/sleet accumulations.  


Ice alone can have the same effect, though small amounts less so.


Worse, you cannot always see the accumulations, so a visual inspection may not be enough, especially at night or in very poor light.  It might be more obvious in conditions as here.  If it's cold enough and maybe if the humidity is 'right' (who knows?), de-icing is standard at many airports.  This is Schiphol in Amsterdam near the North Seat where it's almost always humid even in winter, so even at a degree below freezing for an hour or two, it can be dangerous, even moreso when the plane is fully laden with both a full manifest of passengers AND cargo.  


I once was on a Lufthansa 747 Frankfurt bound from San Francisco that had Five (yes, five) engines (the plane had mountings for a spare to be ferried back to Frankfurt for repair), and in addition a full passenger load and cargo load, and the captain said our 'roll-out would take rather than the usual 30 seconds might last more than a minute (he knew to the precise second and fraction I am sure), and that we would use up almost all the super long San Francisco runway.


Here, I had an aisle seat but no one sitting next to me (I returned a 'gold' level flyer).  But I rued the aisle seat because a flight attendant hit my knee fulll on at great speed with a fully laden serving card so hard that even today I haven't been able to leave where I stay more than two times and have to hop around on my other leg -- a chancy task as the other leg has been a historically bad leg.  That flight literally disabled me and left me mostly bedridden.  I can't even get to the store after almost three weeks.


But I got the shot!


And a bunch of others; some good enough to publish anywhere.  FYI, the flare and lens internal refraction/reflections often are considered desirable by purchasers of photos intended to reflect 'real life' situations . . . . so those commercial and/or editorial purchasers often see it wrongheaded to 'remove' or ameliorate 'glare', 'flare' and internal reflection/refraction.


I'm sure a purchaser (color of course), would want to 'clean up' this photo, but in their own way, not in any way I could predict.


It and 15,000 others are for license on ImageBrief.com; something newer in my life.


Thanks for the kind remark; it made my day as I hopped from one room to the other to get to my computer to say 'thank you' and 'Have a Happy New Year'.  (I'm hoping for a speedy recovery, as I am unable to take photos now, or anything else for that matter.)




John (Crosley)

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Thanks for sharing this very nice aviation photo. It could be a photo from some kind of documentary photo series, showing different tasks and people working at the airport to keep those planes flying safely.

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Hi Timo!  As you well know probably by now, I'm an opportunist who doesn't mind looking like I'm a PHOTOGRAPHER IN BIG LETTERS WITH USUALLY TWO CAMERAS AROUND MY NECK AND NO LENS CAPS ON EITHER ZOOM LENS.


When I see something interesting, I reckon I can take a photo often with two seconds, and frequently within a second or a fraction thereof, often taking multiples, in case I miss focus on one or another, or even several, so at least one turns out 'right', then when I've got it 'right', I move on, or I 'work the subject' as I did here.


And 'working the subject' wasn't hard, except seated in an aisle seat, with a tele zoom out a passenger window involved considerable leaning to avoid capturing the window frame - remember those airliner passenger windows are small, and this is not a crop.  I did have to do some straightening on some captures, but also I had retaken others that weren't straight -- others that were not level with the horizon I liked that way since the horizon was so far away and obscured by all the mist and spray.  


I very much like your comment; a view of your photos shows some in color that seem gallery worthy.  Are you selling or represented or do you show?


Best wishes for a happy new year, and thanks.




John (Crosley)

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Sometimes I go out with great composition as a goal, and come back 'skunked' -- you know the American expression for returning with 'nothing worth while.' -- nada, zilch.


Other times I an be awakened from drowsing, as here, by some rumbling from outside the plane, open my eyes, raise a camera immediately when I see a scene like this (and many others nearly as good/maybe some better), all showing well in color and black and white.


With the wing's long lines and the winglet at the end, the cloudiness of the spray, the sun's rays, the long arm of the de-icer, and the hydraulic lifter for the deicer operator, one could hardly avoid taking a photo with good composition if one just started taking photo after photo when everything was not obscured by spray.


And I got a good variety -- including spray directed right at my window (cleaning it in the process!)


Best to you this New Year, and thanks.




John (Crosley)

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Dear John. The action photographed is not common in Brazil. I've never seen this defrosting operation of airplane wing. I am an engineer and I am aware of the need of this thawing of surface of the wing of the plane for flight safety. Fortunately, that does not exist in Brazil. However, I am very worried about the fuel supply of aircraft in Brazil. After the crash of the Lamia aircraft, at Medellin/Colombia, in 2016 November, due to lack of fuel, I was more worried with the fuel supply of aircraft in South America. In Brazil, and perhaps in South America, the main cause of the financial debt of the airlines is the cost of aviation fuel. The short distances travelled with several landings and takeoffs of the same flight and the poor quality of fuel causing increased fuel consumption, forcing constant supplies of aircraft. This increases the impact of fuel costs in the budgets of airlines, leading to supply optimization of aircraft. In this optimization procedure, it is reasonable that the aircraft to be supplied with enough fuel to fly the stretch between airports that they supply. It is reasonable to provide for a fuel reserve to ensure flight safety. I think that this safe conduct is not adopted with frequency in South America. In the case of the crash of the Lamia aircraft, the airline didn't have the habit to supply the aircraft with the safety fuel reserve. In Brazil and in South America, we have a nasty habit of not filling the fuel tank of our car. Generally, the Brazilian spends no more than 15 dollarsin your car fuel supply. With 15 dollars we were able to buy almost 10 liters of fuel which corresponds to 20% of the full tank. This is the reason for my worry about the fuel supply of aircraft in Brazil. Nobody insures that the aircraft take off fueled by the amount of fuel required to ensure a safe journey. I hope our airlines do not have the habit to supply the aircraft with 15 dollars of fuel. Nice shot and POV. Very well done. Congratulations. Happy New Year!!! Roldao
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Roldao,  Thank you for the kind words about this photo, and the explanation that you had never seen such a thing before in Brazil; as home to the world's greatest tropical rain forest, however much diminishing, such a thing would be unthinkable in your country.


However, the Andes share a continent with you, and I am sure that it snows and freezes at some of the higher altitude (or even lower ones) and also at different latitudes than in Brazil, so I think I can guess that such machines probably exist (or their counterparts, even if it only means men with trucks and 'firehoses' with anti-freeze spray, in other parts of South America).


As to your concerns about 'fuel starvation' because pilots don't put enough fuel on board, that is a self-fixing problem.


No airline can exist after one or two crashes caused by fuel starvation, and accident investigators can quickly pinpoint (from distress call content and from lack of fuel-fed fire at the crash scene) which crashes were caused by fuel starvation.

Once word gets out that a carrier had a crash from fuel starvation, passengers are loathe to buy even the most heavily discounted tickets (unless they've bought lots of life insurance and are deeply depressed..


For instance, recently I found an unbelieveable air fare to a very distant place -- about one-quarter of the asking fare of other airlines -- and there were a bunch of other airlines.


I wondered why the low fare, discovered the name of the low fare offering airline, and found that I never heard of them, looked up their name in Google.com,and found they had just had a major crash with all lost on board.


They could hardly sell a seat even at a heavy loss after just one crash.


It doesn't take long for the word to get around.  


Most pilots don't want to die, save maybe a despondent Egypt Air pilot or a German Wings (Lufthansa subsidiary now renamed) pilot, who seem to have the idea that a suicide involves taking a whole planeload of people down with them.  


It happens, though rarely.


Pilots are good safety spokespeople for their passengers, too.


It's an easy extrapolation for a lay person to make from the Brazilian habit of only putting a little petrol into an auto tank instead of 'filling up' and that causes little concern.  


Even airline pilots for the most major airlines do not 'fill up' routinely on all but their longest flights to allow time for circling their destination, then to divert to a 'diversion' airport somewhere safe but nearby -- especially when weather's good, and the destination(s) are not so far away.


So, while it's an easy and 'apparent' extrapolation, I think for the most part (not always of course) it's probably false logic.  


If a car loses its fuel, it stops, usually after sputtering a little. 


If a plane loses fuel, it falls out of the sky, killing the pilot, crew, passengers, and the public's perception of its safety and the airline's ability to sell tickets.


So, in general, even with the most rudimentary airlines, there usually is enough fuel on board to 'get there', and for the just slightly more advanced, there usually is enough fuel to get there and get to an alternate destination after circling in case the destination cannot be landed at.  


Remember, it costs the same amount of fuel to land at all destinations when a plane takes off, minus just one thing, the power and fuel it takes to push that extra fuel up into the sky with the airliner, and to fly it to the destination . . . . and that does cost money


I am certain that there are rigid controls on how much fuel is put on board even loosely run airlines.  On major airlines it is a primary concern, and on lesser airlines, unless they're about to fail financially, it also has to be a primary concern.  If it were less than primary, experienced pilots would just refuse to fly, for it would be their death warrant -- or at least Russian roulette if they needed to divert and ended up without enough fuel.


I'd not worry so much unless you see that an airline's plane actually crashes from fuel starvation, and it's in management distress severe financial failure, then worry a lot and protect yourself by not buying a ticket (even at a super heavy discount) on that airline.


I remember once in Frankfurt, about to get a ticket from Frankfurt to Moscow, I was talking to a staff member of a rival, regional airline from the Baltic states.


This staff member said his airline could fly me to Moscow at one-third or so the price of a Lufthansa ticket, but I declined, as I had not heard of this regional airline, a newer 'startup'.


Half a year later, one of that airline's planes crashed at Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport.  It turns out the 'sales agent' I was talking to, was doing double duty as a pilot/sales agent.


That's a sign of cost cutting too deeply.


When you see that, time to excuse the need to buy a super low cost fare, and either don't go, or beg or borrow extra money for a higher priced ticket.


Words of wisdom from a multi-million mile (gold for life) traveler.   Gold on more than one airline alliance with maybe 8 million miles and 72 countries flown most before I took up photography for the second time in my life.


I will fly an airline I hate if they have a great reputation for 'getting me there'.  Lost or pilfered luggage has little meaning for me, compared to getting there safely compared to falling out the sky from 38,000 with no parachute.


But I'm also loathe to spend extra bucks (money) on a ticket, too.  Just like everyone else. I'm a master at buying low-priced tickets.


I balance the two needs -- to live and to save dollars . . . .and put the former first.


I hope this allows you some peace of mind when flying if you think it through.


Best wishes for a Happy New Year!


And thanks for sharing your thoughts.




John (Crosley) 

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If you didn't know better, you might have thought I was a worker on that wing with a camera or a photographer hired for the occasion instead of being awakened from a drowse when the sprayer was turned on?  Shooting into the sun, even without shooting through a plastic airliner window might have resulted in multiple reflections and refractions no matter what, I think.  


In any case, experience with a 'stock photo' agency's clients's brief has taught me that in many cases such evidence of reflection/refraction, etc., when shooting into the sun is commercially desirable in many circumstances, can AID a photo's salability and often is requested specifically by clients searching for images to publish.


Interesting, hunh?




John (Crosley)

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I spent about two and a half hours making a comment to you about the NO FEE Nikon contest and two restrictions in particular.


Of three contests, the photo or photos in the first category MUST be shot with a Nikon camera/ the others, can be shot with any camera.


If the photo has been taken or made before 206-2017 -- and i questioned them on the hearning of 'display and was disappointed', it may be entered in the professional category only if it is part of an ongoing work as part of 'ongoing work' otherwise works made before the time period are disqualified -- and easily checked thorugh Commercial image Tracing internet Searches or Google View itself.  


if you 'displayed' the photo before 206-2017 then it's also disqualified.  After a query, display means 'social media, host sites like photo.net and Flickr.com, etc., in addition to Facebook g - PLUS, and other media services/sites where you post as opposed to transmit only.


This favors those who save their best stuff and do not display it until after one year, so they can enter such contests.


Also, they want considerable control over 1. The winning image and 2. it appears 'contest entrants' though the wording is not crystal clear on that.


So, i have done some sleuthing, but think twice before you send them a photo worth $1 million, as you won't then be able to sell it - only Nikon if i have it straight.  Don't trust me however, read the rules yourself and ask them questions; they do respond.




Watch the three different themes, though. as they may be hard to fulfill or post to.


Best of luck; i'm still wondering if i have anything left after so much posting to send to them.  Also 'sister' photos from the same series and also retakes of photos also are ineligible.  They take back any prizes they gave you!


Very strict set of rules, but no cash to send them, and some prestige with good cash/camera/lens payouts.


Remember Nikon must shoot only the main category winner -- one of three only and any camera for the other two.  


Digital only so they can check up.


Contest made by nitpickers and lawyers, i think - and i practiced law for nearly two decades.


Best wishes/ hope you win the contest if i don't and if i enter at all.


Also check an ongoing Canon contest.


Both have early dates for submission -- Nikon very, very soon, so watchg out.


The reason you never got the last, long message is that it contained a URL to the 

 Nikon web site, and Photo.net called that Spam, and froze my computer.  i wasn't bou then to rewrite a 2--1/2 hour letter after slaving at it only to see it blocked.


So, here it is, rewritten.

With best and careful thoughts about your aspirations and the financial situation in Ukraine presently.


Your friend and colleague,




John Crosley



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You slipped in another of your tiny (in physical size) but meaningful comment/critiques, while I just overlooked it.


I am always pleased to find you've been trolling through my photos and here with some appreciation.


Thank you so much.  Best wishes.




John (Crosley)

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