An interdisciplinary approach to inflight aircraft icing safety

Michael B. Bragg, William R. Perkins, Nadine B. Sorter, Tamer Basar, Petros G Voulgaris, Holly M. Gurbacki, James W. Melody, Scott A. Mccray

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


Aircraft accidents in icing conditions are primarily the results of the degradation in performance and control due to the aerodynamic effects of the ice. However, despite recent advances in the ability to identify these changes, the icing sensors currently in use sense only ice thickness or accretion rate at the sensor location. No aircraft performance degradation information is available to the pilot. In this paper, a smart icing system is proposed based on the ability to sense the effect of ice on the aircraft performance, stability and control. This concept is proposed through the addition of an Ice Management System to the aircraft. This system would add an additional level of safety to supplement the current avoidance and ice protection concepts currently in use. Such a system would sense ice accretion through traditional icing sensors and use modern system identification methods to estimate aircraft performance and control changes. This information would be used to automatically operate ice protection systems, provide aircraft envelope protection and, if icing was severe, adapt the flight controls. All of this must be properly communicated to and coordinated with the flight crew. The design of such a system requires a coordinated interdisciplinary approach. In addition to describing the basic concept, this paper reviews the research needed in three critical areas; aerodynamics and flight mechanics, aircraft controls, and human factors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
StatePublished - 1998
Event36th AIAA Aerospace Sciences Meeting and Exhibit, 1998 - Reno, United States
Duration: Jan 12 1998Jan 15 1998


Other36th AIAA Aerospace Sciences Meeting and Exhibit, 1998
Country/TerritoryUnited States

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Engineering
  • Space and Planetary Science


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