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.
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.
Bell Helicopter has chosen Texstars (Booth No. 507) to provide birdstrike-resistant windshields for the Bell 525 Relentless. These windshields will feature other safety improvements including enhanced pilot’s field-of-vision and a wrap-around windshield that eliminates the need for lower-view chin bubble windows and overhead skylights. The improved pilot’s view will enable direct sighting of mission objectives and landing zones.
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.
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.
Aviation thrives on innovation, and Aerospace Technologies Group of Boca Raton, Fla., and Aviation Glass & Technology in the Netherlands are doing exactly that.
ATG is a leader in the design and manufacture of aircraft window treatments and shades, and Aviation Glass recently introduced a 1.7-mm clear glass that is up to 25-percent lighter than the typical 3-mm polycarbonate currently in use. The two companies formed a partnership and expect to “conquer new frontiers with its revolutionary glass solution.”
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.
Many cockpit crewmembers believe the ingestion of ice crystals by a jet engine is essentially harmless if the engine’s igniters are turned on. However, aeronautical engineers generally do not agree, citing incidents when mixing ice with standard intake air resulted in a noticeable reduction in engine power output and, at its worst, a complete engine flameout. Ice formation inside an engine compartment can also lead to indicator anomalies that may not shut down the engine, but may lead to air data system failures.
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