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.
Less than two months after two possible weather-related fatal crashes of EMS helicopters in Illinois and Iowa, the FAA has issued a Special Airworthiness Information Bulletin covering recommendations for rotorcraft 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 neither equipped nor approved for flight into icing conditions.
Canada’s National Research Council (Hall 4 Stand C18B) has been flight-testing its Dassault Falcon 20 fueled by biofuel while sampling the exhaust using a probe fitted to a Lockheed T-33 chase plane. The NRC believes the exercise to be a world first.
The Australian Transport Safety Bureau has found the two pilots of a QantasLink Bombardier Dash 8-300 to be primarily responsible for an unstabilized approach that activated the twin turboprop’s stick shaker on final approach to Runway 16 Left at Sydney Airport [YSSY] in New South Wales in March 2011. The Bureau said both pilots got behind the required checklist duties for configuring the aircraft before commencing the approach.
Anti-icing surfaces under development at GE and EADS could one day reduce and possibly even eliminate the need for existing anti-icing techniques. Research organizations at the two major aerospace companies are currently working on surfaces that would naturally repel ice without using energy.
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.
GE Aviation and StandardAero opened a 122,500-sq-ft aircraft engine testing, research and development center on James A. Richardson International Airport in Winnipeg, Manitoba. The $50 million shared project caps a 12-month partnership launched in February 2011.
As the investigation continues into Tuesday’s fatal crash of a Daher-Socata TBM700 in New Jersey, more details of the flight’s final moments are emerging. According to the NTSB, the pilot reported that he was “picking up ice” just before the single-engine turboprop crashed into the treed median of I-287 near Morristown, killing all five on board.
Taking a proactive approach toward the anti-icing regulations proposed by the FAA in June 2010–and still unscheduled for adoption into the FARs–Spirit AeroSystems (Booth No. C11720) has been working with Wichita State University and an undisclosed supplier to develop two new anti-icing systems for nacelles surrounding large aircraft engines.
In the quest to develop more aircraft systems driven by electricity and to improve reliability, Bombardier Aerospace completed another milestone in its Strategic Technology program for civil aviation: known-icing tests of an electro-thermal wing leading-edge ice-protection system. The system features a Fokker composite electro-thermal leading edge, Meggitt heaters and a power harness using ICE Corp.