Aircraft Icing Term Paper

Download this Term Paper in word format (.doc)

Note: Sample below may appear distorted but all corresponding word document files contain proper formatting

Excerpt from Term Paper:

Aircraft Icing

As the winds cool and chill with impending snow and frozen weather, aircraft all over the world haul pilots, commuters, and cargo all over the world. As an aircraft is exposed to dangerously cold weather, it is put immediately at risk for aircraft icing, an extremely hazardous and potentially fatal safety concern. The phenomenon of aircraft icing only occurs in colder climates when the outside air temperature approaches the freezing mark. When the air around the craft chills to that extent, the temperature of outer metal skin of the aircraft also falls. While the metal sheets are built to withstand these lowered temperatures, the airplane assumes risk in flying through a cloud of liquid also cold.

As the aircraft enters the liquid, the water freezes when impacted with the frozen metal exterior of the plane, resulting in problems with wings, tail, propellers, and engine.

Aircraft Icing

As the winds cool and chill with impending snow and frozen weather, aircraft all over the world haul pilots, commuters, and cargo all over the world. While the passengers on board defend against the elements with woolen scarves, hats, and blankets, the skin of the aircraft remains vulnerable to the elements. The most dangerous of these is found not in the snowflakes the pilot brushes from his face as he boards the plane, but instead in the cold liquid and freezing rain the aircraft encounters as it drops to freezing. As the plane is exposed to the winter weather, it is put immediately at risk for aircraft icing, an extremely hazardous and potentially fatal safety concern.

The phenomenon of aircraft icing is most common on smaller and propeller aircraft. Physically, icing only occurs in colder climates when the outside air temperature approaches the freezing mark. When the air around the craft chills to that extent, the temperature of outer metal skin of the aircraft also falls. While the metal sheets are built to withstand these lowered temperatures, the airplane assumes risk in flying through a cloud of liquid also cold. When the craft flies through the cloud, the accumulating rainfall can either be of a low temperature near freezing or below that point, "supercooled."

As the aircraft enters the liquid, the water freezes when impacted with the frozen metal exterior of the plane. When the rainfall is supercooled, the disturbance causes immediate freezing.

The now frozen aircraft is not always put into a hazardous situation as the ice accumulates on its skin, and aeronautical engineers take into account the weather hazard when building the craft. However, despite technological prowess and infrastructural advances, any ice that freezes on lifting surfaces such as the wings and tail results in an extremely dangerous reduction in performance and safety. While other ice accretion patterns are also hazardous, none are as risky as that affecting the lift.

When frozen liquid collects on wings or tail, the maximum lift and angle of attack are both decreased; a the same time, there is an increase in drag.

As the angle of attack is reduced, safety becomes more nebulous.

Typically, the ice collection that lessens the angle of attack is most problematic as the angle of attack increases, namely when the speed is reduced as the aircraft approaches land. Because the angle of attack is crucial to a safe landing, the impediment resulting from the aircraft icing becomes extremely hazardous. When the aircraft lands, what was once a proper angle of attack for landing becomes a dangerous one, and the impact of the icing forces the craft to lose lift as the wing stalls and the aircraft can nose downward suddenly. The nature of landing demands that the pilot steers the plane towards the ground quickly; a nosedive at such a close proximity is unwelcome in any situation, but with the affects of airplane icing, is most likely to result in a fatal conclusion.

Should the icing not occur on the wings but instead on the tail, the results are frequently as disastrous but the result of a different aeronautical affect. With tailplane icing, the accumulation of ice on the tail produces negative lift. The downward pull of the tail balances the craft's pitching, then forcing the plane to nose down. Unfortunately, unlike icing on the wings, tailplane icing causes an extremely violent dive down for the craft, since the pull on tail is not in balance with the natural flow for which the plane was designed. This type of icing is just as dangerous as that which occurs on the wing, but far more elusive; it is difficult to diagnose in-flight and can be missed by needy pilots.

Aircraft icing is not limited in location only to control and lifting surfaces, where it is most common, but can happen anywhere. Hollywood has made famous the accretion of ice on propeller blades, but it can also gather on critical engine components. Should it accumulate in the engine or the blades, it forces a reduction in the craft's thrust and, accordingly, increases drag. On these parts of the plane, when ice gathers, it is also likely to break off suddenly. This effect, called ice shedding, is as damaging as the hazardous initial icing. As chunks of ice break off of the moving aircraft, they can be thrust into the engine, resulting in significant and potentially fatal damage.

At best, the weight of the ice wears down the craft and causes a serious decrease in the overall performance of the plane. Because the other repercussions are far greater and more deadly, the aircraft engineering and architectural industries have been spurred to find an infrastructural solution to the roll ice can play in an aircraft's performance. Most commonly used are fluid solutions that are sprayed over aircrafts prior to departure; both military and commercial airlines are subject to this wash with great frequency in cold weather. If a potential icing condition presents itself, the aircraft is sprayed with de-icing fluids prior to takeoff. The fluid is meant to melt and remove preexisting ice and prevent further ice from forming during flight.

While anti-icing and de-icing fluids are the most popular solution to the problem of aircraft icing, other technologies also exist. Electrothermal devices act to remove ice with heat and prevent any other ice from forming; this is a common tool used to prevent ice on the blades of the propeller. Commuter aircrafts also use a de-icing boot, a quickly inflating and deflating rubber instrument, to break ice off the wings. Jet aircrafts also route hot bleed air through the wings to prevent the initial accretion of ice.

"The economics of airline operations and the requirements of round-the-clock vigil defensive systems dictate the need for all-weather operational capabilities for civil aircraft."

Aircraft icing is such a dangerous risk for flight that it garners international attention and is even the focus of government and academic grant and focus in the United States. The University of Illinois is home to the Smart Icing System, which measures atmospheric and aircraft limitations to determine if the craft is at risk for icing to warn the pilot and launch preventative measures to reduce the fatal risk. The NASA Glenn Research Center is located conveniently at the Cleveland-Hopkins International Airport in Ohio, where winter icing is made even more risky with lake-effect weather and harsh Canadian winter winds. There, NASA has developed a team of anti-icing researchers who run the Icing Research Tunnel (IRT), which examines both the actual risk of icing as well as developing potential solutions to the problem.

Most of these solutions are very effective. Very few planes incur fatal landings as a result to aircraft icing any longer, but the historical problem remains. The weather through which an airplane flies can put even the best-built craft at the mercy of the elements, and of these,…[continue]

Cite This Term Paper:

"Aircraft Icing" (2005, September 30) Retrieved December 9, 2016, from http://www.paperdue.com/essay/aircraft-icing-68492

"Aircraft Icing" 30 September 2005. Web.9 December. 2016. <http://www.paperdue.com/essay/aircraft-icing-68492>

"Aircraft Icing", 30 September 2005, Accessed.9 December. 2016, http://www.paperdue.com/essay/aircraft-icing-68492

Other Documents Pertaining To This Topic

  • Aircraft Safety Design Aircraft Safety

    Examples include gyroscopic blind-flying instruments, which enabled flight even in low visibility conditions. At the same time, radio navigation and approach systems help pilots land safety even during low visibility. These instruments later developed to include radar technology in combination with radio. De-icing and anti-icing systems were also implemented in order to minimize the dangers of ace accretion. Weather radars were implemented in order to serve as a warning

  • How ICE and Rain Affect Normal Operations Focusing on Icing

    ice and rain affect normal operations-Emphasis on Icing There is a clear inter-relation between safe and satisfactory travel by air and weather. Most of the accidents in airplanes occur due to adverse weather, and it is one among the different causes improving towards the occurrence of the accident. It can be blamed as the reason for most of the flight delays also. All flight operations are affected by unfavorable weather.

  • Aircraft Engine Fuel on Our

    At the same time, research on ozone depletion showed the dire situation and helped support pushes for reform and regulation of harmful chemicals being used in such a vulnerable context as in our atmosphere. Many Western nations have passed legislation limiting the types of chemicals and levels which are acceptable, for example the Air Pollution Act in the United States (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency 2010). Conclusions With this growing amount of

  • Fire Aircraft Accidents Involving Fires

    When an airplane catches on fire and jet fuel is the catalyst, the amount of time that the plane and the object around it will burn is dependent on many different factors. One of the primary factors is the amount of fuel that is still contained on the plane. For instance a jet that is taking a transatlantic flight will have more jet fuel than a regional flight. Investigators

  • Crash of Thy Flight Tk

    TALPA Vice Chairman Mete Dane established flight TK 1951's method to Schiphol and talked about the motive why it had abruptly lost altitude that had been pointed to wake turbulence. Researcher's Argument and Conclusion In conclusion, the researcher believes that the reason of the crash was because there was an issue with the design of the plane. The researcher supports his argument by using the investigation from the Dutch. The Dutch

  • Environmental Issues Faced in 21st Century Aviation

    Environmental Issues Faced in 21st Century Aviation Reducing Communication and Coordination Tools and Metrics Technology, Operations and Policy Demand Aviation and the Environment Effects on the health Local Air Quality Climate Change Total Climate impacts from aircraft Interdependencies Mobility, Economy and National Security Interactions between Government, Industry and Groups Aviation Greenhouse Gas Emissions Economic Impact SPCC Regulations Local Airport Issues De-icing Fluids A Framework for National Goals Realities and Myths Metrics Recommended Actions Environmental Issues Faced in 21st Century Aviation Environmental awareness in regards to 21st century aviation among the public and politicians has

  • Flight Data Recorder

    Flight Data Recorder From a system viewpoint, prevention is a great deal less expensive than accidents. Two Boeing 737 accidents remain entirely unexplained at this time (Colorado Springs, 1992; Pittsburgh, 1994). Both airplanes had older digital flight data recorders that did not record control surface positions; that information might very well have led to an unambiguous finding of probable cause. In sharp contrast, the Aerospatiale ATR-72 that crashed after extended flight


Read Full Term Paper
Copyright 2016 . All Rights Reserved