Icing Detectors Recognize Super-Cooled Droplets

 - October 21, 2013, 12:40 PM

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).

However, unlike current devices, according to Zodiac, the new FIDS will be reliable enough in low positive temperatures (0-10 degrees C) to be certified as a primary system (PFIDS), with authority to trigger anti-icing systems based on actual ice detection.

“Aircraft flight manuals usually require pilots to start icing protection systems when visible moisture combines with a temperature below 10 degrees C, which is ample margin but consumes a lot of energy, thus impacting fuel burn,” a Zodiac engineer told AIN.

The second new PFIDS, using laser interferometry, will detect which form of ice–supercooled large droplets, crystal and so on–is affecting the aircraft. Flight tests should take place in 2016 with entry-into-service planned for 2017.