France’s Zodiac Aerospace has unveiled a new in-flight ice detection system capable of detecting ice in any format, including large droplets. Zodiac says current systems are incapable of detecting ice crystals. The new ice-detection system is set to begin flight-testing in 2016, with service entry planned for 2017.
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 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 has advised GEnx engine operators that it is revising the 787’s and the 747-8’s flight manuals to prohibit flight within 50 nm of thunderstorms that may contain ice crystals. Following Boeing’s recommendation, Japan Airlines immediately announced it would switch aircraft on two routes. From April to November, GEnx-powered aircraft suffered six engine-icing events, according to a GE statement. All aircraft landed at their planned destinations, said the engine maker, and none of the incidents involved in-flight shutdowns–only temporary thrust losses.
At the Monaco Yacht Show in September, Eurocopter exhibited a “collectable art” EC135 helicopter with a distinctive zig-zag, blue-on-white livery aboard the 282-foot super-yacht Quattronelle.
Equipment manufacturer Zodiac Aerospace is developing two new in-flight icing detection systems (FIDS). Scheduled to be ready for entry-into-service in 2015, the first system will detect supercooled droplets of less than 50 microns in diameter. This size is consistent with current standards for large aircraft (CS-25, Appendix C under EASA rules).
GKN Aerospace (Chalet B73, Hall 2b F169) has completed coordination of a nine-nation European project, which has succeeded in developing a new optical ice-monitoring concept. The new system promises fully automated inflight ice protection for the first time.
Less than two months after two possible weather-related fatal crashes of EMS helicopters in Illinois and Iowa, the FAA issued a Special Airworthiness Information Bulletin (SW-08-03R3) 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.
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