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.
The On Wings ice sensor can be flush-mounted into any airfoil and measures ice formation on the surface directly. The sensor head uses optical fibers, which project light into any ice and measure the reflection. The resulting data is analyzed using new data measurement technology, which determines the type, severity and thickness of any ice formation.
Extensive testing of the ice detector culminated in successful flight trials in Poland in February aboard an AgustaWestland helicopter. “The On Wings project has huge potential across aviation,” said Rich Oldfield, GKN Aerospace technical director. “Improving the efficiency of ice protection will have positive consequences for operators of all types of aircraft.” He added that the new system could reduce fuel consumption, increase airframe and engine performance and endurance and cut maintenance requirements.
The On Wings project began in October 2009 and was completed in December 2012. The European consortium included the university of Ioannia, university of Athens, AOS Technology, Sensor Highway, TWT, ESW, Airbus and AgustaWestland.