Icing on Aircraft Wings: Flying into Ice

music
Ambience: Aircraft propeller

If you’re going to understand how ice forms on aircraft wings, sometimes you have to take to the skies. I’m Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet. Tom Bond is the chief of the Icing Branch at Glenn Research Center.

“It’s called a DH-6 Twin Otter aircraft that we use for icing research. It’s a two engine turbo propeller based aircraft that we’ve flown in icing conditions in the winter here for almost 22 years now. We do a number of different kinds of tests with the Twin Otter. We actually fly in the environment and collect data with onboard sensors that tell us what the cloud conditions look like and how the ice forms. We look at the flight dynamics changes on the airplane due to the icing buildup, and we have at times examined how the ice forms on different kinds of experimental sites where we’ve put pieces of wings on the airplane and look at the formation mechanisms. The tests that we do tell us what the atmospheric conditions look like in terms of how we define the environmental properties. They tell us how the aircraft responds to the icing conditions during a buildup, and they allow us to test in natural conditions and learn how to simulate those icing conditions in the atmosphere for ground facilities testing. There’s still a significant amount of knowledge that needs to be gained in icing research. We understand how the phenomenas happen from a large view perspective, but we don’t understand some of the microphysical work yet, and we use the Twin Otter and other tools to try and get a better understanding of how the ice formation takes place and then how to improve our computer models using that kind of information.”

Pulse of the Planet is made possible by the National Science Foundation with additional support from NASA. I’m Jim Metzner.

music

Icing on Aircraft Wings: Flying into Ice

To learn more about icing conditions, researchers fly straight to the source.
Air Date:12/19/2006
Scientist:
Transcript:

music
Ambience: Aircraft propeller

If you're going to understand how ice forms on aircraft wings, sometimes you have to take to the skies. I'm Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet. Tom Bond is the chief of the Icing Branch at Glenn Research Center.

"It's called a DH-6 Twin Otter aircraft that we use for icing research. It's a two engine turbo propeller based aircraft that we've flown in icing conditions in the winter here for almost 22 years now. We do a number of different kinds of tests with the Twin Otter. We actually fly in the environment and collect data with onboard sensors that tell us what the cloud conditions look like and how the ice forms. We look at the flight dynamics changes on the airplane due to the icing buildup, and we have at times examined how the ice forms on different kinds of experimental sites where we've put pieces of wings on the airplane and look at the formation mechanisms. The tests that we do tell us what the atmospheric conditions look like in terms of how we define the environmental properties. They tell us how the aircraft responds to the icing conditions during a buildup, and they allow us to test in natural conditions and learn how to simulate those icing conditions in the atmosphere for ground facilities testing. There's still a significant amount of knowledge that needs to be gained in icing research. We understand how the phenomenas happen from a large view perspective, but we don't understand some of the microphysical work yet, and we use the Twin Otter and other tools to try and get a better understanding of how the ice formation takes place and then how to improve our computer models using that kind of information."

Pulse of the Planet is made possible by the National Science Foundation with additional support from NASA. I'm Jim Metzner.

music