An international field research campaign led by Airbus and NASA has gathered a wealth of data on icing conditions in convective weather, especially on ice crystals that cause engine icing. The eight-week effort ended in March in Darwin, Australia, and the researchers expect to publish their report early next year. The partners in the project hope to gain a better understanding of icing conditions that will allow them to devise mathematical models for equipment manufacturers to use when designing detection systems.
Safe Flight Instrument introduced its new Icing Conditions Detector (ICD) today at EBACE. The patented optical ICD provides an alert that icing conditions exist before ice can accrete on the aircraft. Composed of a single line-replaceable unit, the system is intended for operation in all modes of flight, according to Safe Flight. The system, currently under evaluation in a variety of airframe types, provides an instantaneous warning when icing conditions are present before ice accretion has an opportunity to reduce aircraft performance and controllability.
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.
Despite the first day of spring being just a few weeks away, encounters with icing at altitude still represent a very real problem. Responsibility for understanding the intricacies of ice formation, as well as how to exit an area of icing before a loss of aircraft control occurs, still falls on the cockpit crew. Here are some valuable icing resources that are easily accessed from any Internet connection that are worth bookmarking for next year’s season.
European aircraft operators should brace for a harsh winter, according to de-icing specialist Kilfrost. The supplier said it anticipates strong demand for its products this year based on long-range forecasts that call for a winter as severe as the one seen two years ago. Based on its predicted demand and the delivery lag, the company has already ramped up production at its manufacturing plant in northern England to ensure a steady supply of de-icing fluid at dozens of airports across the region.
Canada’s National Research Council (NRC) has added new capabilities to its altitude icing wind tunnel (AIWT), such as simulating flights at 25,000 feet and the addition of hot air supply for models that use it for de-icing. The improvements will help NRC meet client demands for development and certification work recognized by regulators such as Europe’s EASA and the U.S. FAA.
Kilfrost (Hall 4 Stand G4) is introducing what it claims to be the first aircraft de-icing fluid made from sustainable sources. The new corn-based DF Sustain fluid is an environmentally friendly alternative to monopropylene glycol and it has already been approved by aviation authorities in the U.S. and Japan.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has finalized new regulations that will provide relief to airports where de-icing fluid is used. The EPA had proposed more stringent de-ice effluent limitations in 2009, but the agency has incorporated voluntary pollution-reduction programs, according to the Airports Council International-North America (ACI-NA).
GE Global Research presented new findings on nanotextured anti-icing surfaces and coatings last week at the American Physical Society Conference in Boston. While there are many applications for this technology, aircraft are at the top of the list.
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