Icing Conditions Encountered by a Research Aircraft

Wayne R. Sand Department of Atmospheric Science, University of Wyoming, Laramie, WY 82071

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William A. Cooper Department of Atmospheric Science, University of Wyoming, Laramie, WY 82071

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Marcia K. Politovich Department of Atmospheric Science, University of Wyoming, Laramie, WY 82071

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Donald L. Veal Department of Atmospheric Science, University of Wyoming, Laramie, WY 82071

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Abstract

The characteristics of clouds which have led to airframe icing on an instrumented Beechcraft Super King Air are summarized. The icing encounters occurred at altitudes from 0–8000 m MSL, in summer and winter, in stratiform and cumuliform clouds, and at temperatures from 0 to −30°C. The characteristics of icing encounters in different areas and in different seasons are compared. The fraction of measurements exceeding various threshold values of liquid water content, average liquid water content over a given distance, volume-median droplet diameter, droplet concentration, ice crystal concentration, and potential ice accumulation are given. The effects of these cloud characteristics on aircraft performance were measured by comparing the rate of climb of the aircraft with ice to the rate of climb for the clean aircraft under the same conditions. Most icing encounters led to a reduction in the rate of climb that increased linearly with the path integral of the supercooled liquid water content. The volume-median diameter had little correlation with changes in performance. Some potentially hazardous conditions, which decreased the rate of climb capability of this aircraft by 7–9 m s−1, are also discussed.

Abstract

The characteristics of clouds which have led to airframe icing on an instrumented Beechcraft Super King Air are summarized. The icing encounters occurred at altitudes from 0–8000 m MSL, in summer and winter, in stratiform and cumuliform clouds, and at temperatures from 0 to −30°C. The characteristics of icing encounters in different areas and in different seasons are compared. The fraction of measurements exceeding various threshold values of liquid water content, average liquid water content over a given distance, volume-median droplet diameter, droplet concentration, ice crystal concentration, and potential ice accumulation are given. The effects of these cloud characteristics on aircraft performance were measured by comparing the rate of climb of the aircraft with ice to the rate of climb for the clean aircraft under the same conditions. Most icing encounters led to a reduction in the rate of climb that increased linearly with the path integral of the supercooled liquid water content. The volume-median diameter had little correlation with changes in performance. Some potentially hazardous conditions, which decreased the rate of climb capability of this aircraft by 7–9 m s−1, are also discussed.

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