Researchers at the University of Illinois (UI) are taking a closer look at the flight dynamics of an iced aircraft. "The problem is how the ice changes the shape of the wings and other surfaces, which alters the aerodynamics," says Michael Bragg, head of aeronautical and astronautical engineering at the UI.
Knowing how an iced aircraft flies helps pilots make better decisions and ultimately fly the plane more safely when it has ice build-up.
"Our approach is providing the pilot with a near real-time characterization of the effect that ice is having on his aircraft," says Bragg. He explains that a pilot could mistakenly assume there is no problem and continue flying the aircraft as though it did not have ice. Also, the pilot may not initiate ice protection measures. The possible result: a dangerously unstable aircraft.
A flight test conducted this year is being used to validate the researchers' models and algorithms, A prototype of their ice management system will be tested next year. For more information, contact Bragg at firstname.lastname@example.org, call (217) 333-2651, or fax (217) 244-5551.