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.
Ice protection system
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.
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.
Simplex Aerospace (Booth No. N2511) announced EASA certification of its aerial cleaning and de-icing system for power lines and windmills during Heli-Expo ‘13. Portland, Ore.-based Simplex received EASA certification for installation of the Model 510 system on the Eurocopter AS350 and AS355 on Feb. 8, 2013, according to Michael Finnegan, regional manager for the company.
Following recent crashes of EMS helicopters in Illinois and Iowa in December last year and this January, the FAA issued a revised Special Airworthiness Information Bulletin covering recommendations for rotorcraft flying into snowy or icy conditions.
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.
Kestrel Aircraft president and CEO Alan Klapmeier announced that Cox & Company will build the wing ice protection system for the Kestrel single-engine turboprop. Kestrel also chose Air Comm to develop the aircraft’s environmental control system (ECS).
Kestrel Aircraft has tapped Cox to supply an electro-mechanical ice protection system for its single-engine turboprop, the companies announced today at the NBAA Convention. The system allows “effective ice removal” without the need for de-icing boots or an anti-icing fluid system. According to Kestrel president and CEO Alan Klapmeier, the electro-mechanical system “allows for effective ice removal while retaining a laminar flow.” The single-engine Kestrel is expected to be in service by 2016.
Anti-icing surfaces under development at GE and EADS could one day reduce and possibly even eliminate the need for existing anti-icing techniques. Research organizations at the two major aerospace companies are currently working on surfaces that would naturally repel ice without using energy.
GE Global Research presented new findings on nanotextured anti-icing surfaces and coatings last week at the American Physical Society Conference in Boston. While there are many applications for this technology, aircraft are at the top of the list.
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