Scientists in the propulsion system laboratory (PSL) at NASA’s Glenn research center in Cleveland, Ohio, have developed a test facility that can recreate high-altitude engine icing, a long-awaited capability that should equip the aviation industry to tackle a poorly understood hazard.
Over the last 20 years, the aviation industry has documented more than 200 incidents in which turbofans have lost power during high-altitude flights, according to NASA.
Safe Flight (Booth No. 2516) introduced its upgraded digital powerline detection system (DPDS) and provided an update about ongoing development of its icing conditions detector (ICD) at Heli-Expo 2014.
The DPDS adds a digital signal processor to Safe Flight’s previous analog system, allowing the detection of both 60Hz and 50Hz frequencies produced by power lines around the world. Safe Flight director of government and military sales Greg Hilewitz noted testing on an AS355 showed the DPDS detected a 22,000-volt line at more than one statute mile distant.
Brazil’s Agência Nacional de Aviação Civil (ANAC) has approved CenTex Aerospace’s Halo 250 conversion for the Beechcraft King Air 200 series. It allows any King Air 200 to carry up to 920 pounds more payload by increasing the maximum takeoff weight to 13,420 pounds from 12,500 pounds. A new Airplane Flight Manual supplement has performance data for takeoff flight path to 1,500 feet agl and the landing approach flight path in normal and icing conditions.
Researchers are gradually coming to understand the physics of in-flight engine icing due to ice crystals. In response to this enhanced knowledge of the subject, civil aviation authorities, such as the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), are considering more stringent certification requirements.
Current in-flight icing detection systems (FIDS) cannot detect ice crystals. But equipment manufacturer Zodiac Aerospace (Booth E07) is developing a new FIDS, using optical techniques. It will detect any form of icing and will be able to tell which form of ice–small or large supercooled droplets, crystal and so forth–is impacting the aircraft. It will give the crew specific warnings when large-droplet icing conditions or ice crystals are encountered, François Larue, head of research and technology of Zodiac’s Aircraft Systems division, told AIN.
The FAA has proposed levying a $304,000 civil penalty against Cheyenne, Wyo.-based Great Lakes Aviation for allegedly conducting 19 flights following improper application of de-icing fluid. The FAA maintains that Great Lakes flew Beech 1900Ds out of Hays, Kan., in January 2011 with de-icing fluid that exceeded the maximum temperature of 180 degrees F. The Great Lakes de-icing manual states that fluid heated to more than 180 degrees could damage the aircraft or the de-icer.
Great Lakes had 30 days from receipt of the FAA’s December 2 enforcement letter to respond to the agency.
The FAA is reissuing and revising a Special Airworthiness Information Bulletin (SW-08-03R4) covering recommendations for rotorcraft powered by turboshaft engines flying into snowy or icy conditions. The SAIB describes procedures to reduce the probability of an uncommanded in-flight engine shutdown due to snow and/or ice ingestion and reminds operators that most helicopters are not approved/equipped for flight into icing conditions.
Even as researchers study ways to improve detection of in-flight icing and make airframes and engines more resistant to icing conditions, they continue to struggle to understand the icing phenomenon–especially the formation of ice crystals–according to speakers at a conference on the subject organized by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) in Cologne, Germany recently. Ice-prevention techniques present their own challenges, which aircraft makers, airports and ground handlers are endeavoring to solve.
Boeing and GE have warned companies operating Boeing 747-8 and 787 airliners powered by certain versions of General Electric’s GEnx engines about the risk of in-flight internal-engine icing that can reduce engine performance if aircraft wander too close to areas of significant precipitation, like thunderstorms at high altitudes. Engine models affected are the GEnx-2B on the 747-8 and the GEnx-1B on the 787 Dreamliner.
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