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.
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).
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.
A new de-icing management system will soon become operational at Denver International Airport. Built by Saab, the Aerobahn system uses a multilateration system to allow aircraft operators to track congestion at the airport’s de-icing pads during winter ops. The system can schedule and sequence aircraft into centralized de-icing pads; track de-icing queue lengths and occupancy times; and automatically record de-icing process completions. The Saab system is operational at ATL, JFK, PHX and CLT, as well as 20 other major airports around the world.
Less than two months after two possible weather-related fatal crashes of EMS helicopters in Illinois and Iowa, the FAA issued a Special Airworthiness Information Bulletin (SW-08-03R3) covering recommendations for rotorcraft powered by turboshaft engines 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 not approved/equipped for flight-into-icing conditions.
Aircraft detailing firm The Allen Groupe reappointed company founder David Allen as its CEO today. “He returns to this role after a brief time away to successfully address health issues,” the Orlando, Fla.-based company said. The Allen Groupe provides aircraft cleaning, luxury amenity stocking, de-icing and facilities maintenance services in the U.S. and Europe at more than 30 locations. It also provides these services for static display aircraft at business aircraft conventions and international airshows.
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.
European aircraft operators should brace for a harsh winter, according to de-icing specialist Kilfrost. The supplier said it anticipates strong demand for its products this year based on long-range forecasts that call for a winter as severe as the one seen two years ago. Based on its predicted demand and the delivery lag, the company has already ramped up production at its manufacturing plant in northern England to ensure a steady supply of de-icing fluid at dozens of airports across the region.
A revised FAA Notice 8900.196 has been published to provide inspectors with information on de-icing fluid holdover times, as well as a list of the fluids themselves and recommendations on various other ground deicing/anti-icing issues. While the primary audience is flight standards district office (FSDO) principal operations inspectors responsible for air carrier de-icing programs, it is also of value to FSDO personnel and aircraft operators.
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