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.
Lockheed Martin (Stand 1975) is installing its WindTracer windshear and turbulence-detection system at Dubai International Airport (DXB), where it will be used to detect aircraft wake vortices, thus allowing for increased runway utilization. Two WindTracers have been installed this year and a third one is to follow in the first quarter of next year, Michael Margulis, WindTracer program director, told AIN. WindTracer is a long-range, 3-D-scanning pulsed doppler lidar-based system.
The families of victims of the October 1994 crash of an American Eagle ATR 72 into a field in Roselawn, Ind., met October 31 to remember their loved ones and discuss fundraising efforts to build a permanent memorial. All 68 people aboard American Eagle Flight 4184 died in the accident. The pilots lost control of the aircraft after it accumulated a significant amount of ice while flying at low speed in freezing rain in the holding pattern, a problem that triggered an autopilot disconnection while the aircraft was severely out of trim.
Aviation weather service provider WSI (Booth No. C7915) of Andover, Mass. is here at NBAA showcasing the latest updates to Pilotbrief Optima, its flight planning and real-time weather monitoring tool.
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).
On Friday, Rockwell Collins unveiled its new EVS-3000 enhanced vision system, which includes a multi-spectral EVS sensor that “significantly improves detection of outside terrain, hazards and obstacles in low-visibility conditions caused by weather phenomena such as fog.” The EVS-3000 also brings the industry-first ability to fully detect LED lighting, which is increasingly being used by airports as a runway lighting solution. It does not require a built-in cooling system, reducing weight.
Aircraft departing from two U.S. airports have a quicker and more environmentally friendly option for de-icing than traditional glycol. At New York John F. Kennedy (JFK) International Airport and Wisconsin’s Rhinelander-Oneida County Airport (RHI), departing aircraft that require de-icing can roll into an open-ended hangar where targeted infrared (IR) waves remove frost, snow and ice with a minimum of glycol usage, increasing aircraft throughput and decreasing de-icing time and cost.
The first autonomous takeoff and landing of the Sikorsky Autonomous Research Aircraft (Sara)–an S-76 fitted with fly-by-wire controls, sensors and software for unmanned operations–is expected to take place within days, according to program manager Igor Cherepinsky. So far, he told AIN, Sara’s autonomous flights were following a trajectory to and from a hover.
A June 26 NBAA Webinar delivered new insights into the weather international pilots might encounter across the globe. In addition to a refresher on the potential dangers of the Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ), topics covered included monsoons, dust and sand storms, clear air turbulence (CAT), the jet stream and tropical cyclones.
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