Icing on Aircraft Wings: What is it?

music
ambience: Icing training video

When ice forms on an airplane’s wing it can be a potentially dangerous situation. Preventing this from happening means first understanding how it happens. I’m Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet. We’re listening to an excerpt from a training video for pilots that was produced at Glenn Research Center. Tom Bond is chief of their Icing Branch.

“The work in icing research is based upon trying to examine how icing affects airplanes and improve aviation safety. What happens is that the airplanes are flying at below freezing conditions. And as they fly into the environment where there is moisture and clouds, the super cool droplets actually hit the airplane and freeze on impact, and that ice builds up over a period of time and forms into shapes that actually impact the aerodynamic airflow.
The ice primarily forms on the leading edge of the airplane and on the nose. The droplets that are suspended in the icing clouds follow the air flow over the airplane, and the leading edge of the wings and the tail section of the airplane are the dominant areas that the ice would hit a what’s called a stagnation area, where the airflow stops, and so, that’s where the ice would build up.
That can be significantly dangerous in airplanes because the ice that forms, depending upon the nature of the icing conditions and the temperature and the velocity of the airplane can build up and cause a disruption to the airflow, which will then change the performance, and it can also change the handling qualities of the airplane.”

By learning more about what conditions cause a plane to experience icing, Tom Bond and his team hope to make it easier for pilots to know when it’s safe to fly. We’ll hear more about their research in future programs. Pulse of the Planet is made possible by the National Science Foundation, with additional support from NASA.

music

Icing on Aircraft Wings: What is it?

By learning how ice forms, researchers hope to better prevent dangerous aircraft icing.
Air Date:12/06/2006
Scientist:
Transcript:

music
ambience: Icing training video

When ice forms on an airplane’s wing it can be a potentially dangerous situation. Preventing this from happening means first understanding how it happens. I’m Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet. We’re listening to an excerpt from a training video for pilots that was produced at Glenn Research Center. Tom Bond is chief of their Icing Branch.

“The work in icing research is based upon trying to examine how icing affects airplanes and improve aviation safety. What happens is that the airplanes are flying at below freezing conditions. And as they fly into the environment where there is moisture and clouds, the super cool droplets actually hit the airplane and freeze on impact, and that ice builds up over a period of time and forms into shapes that actually impact the aerodynamic airflow.
The ice primarily forms on the leading edge of the airplane and on the nose. The droplets that are suspended in the icing clouds follow the air flow over the airplane, and the leading edge of the wings and the tail section of the airplane are the dominant areas that the ice would hit a what’s called a stagnation area, where the airflow stops, and so, that’s where the ice would build up.
That can be significantly dangerous in airplanes because the ice that forms, depending upon the nature of the icing conditions and the temperature and the velocity of the airplane can build up and cause a disruption to the airflow, which will then change the performance, and it can also change the handling qualities of the airplane.”

By learning more about what conditions cause a plane to experience icing, Tom Bond and his team hope to make it easier for pilots to know when it’s safe to fly. We’ll hear more about their research in future programs. Pulse of the Planet is made possible by the National Science Foundation, with additional support from NASA.

music