Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. 24/7 Space News .

Sensors Detect Icing Conditions to Help Protect Airplanes
by Staff Writers
Cleveland OH (SPX) Feb 24, 2015

NASA Glenn researcher Michael King (left) and assistant Dan Gorman launch a weather balloon, which carries an instrument package to measure the amount of supercooled liquid water in the atmosphere. Supercooled liquid water freezes on impact with aircraft, potentially a serious safety hazard. Image coutresy NASA.

When ice accumulates on the surface of an aircraft during flight, it distorts the smooth flow of air necessary to stay aloft. The result is a reduction in lift, which can lead to stalls and crashes. Knowing about hazardous icing conditions in advance helps pilots, air traffic controllers and airline dispatchers navigate airplanes and passengers away from danger.

However, icing conditions can vary wildly within the same airspace. That's why scientists at NASA's Glenn Research Center are advancing the methods, technology and accuracy of sensor systems to provide better detection of potential icing hazards around the nation's airports.

A ground-based station developed at Glenn includes sophisticated instruments such as a Ka-band cloud radar, which reads particle density distribution; a multi-frequency microwave radiometer that provides vertical temperature and water vapor profiles and a measure of liquid water present aloft; and a ceilometer for refined cloud base measurements.

"Our goal is to improve the tools and data that controllers and dispatchers need to make tactical decisions," says Aerospace Engineer Andrew Reehorst, who leads Glenn's icing remote sensor program.

Recently, Reehorst's team initiated a weather balloon campaign to read and calibrate weather data, and validate the ground-based sensors. Aerospace Engineer Michael King is releasing a series of weather balloons over the winter months from the center's aircraft hangar ramp.

The weather balloons are fitted with an instrument package to measure pressure, temperature, humidity, and most importantly, supercooled liquid water content. When an airplane comes into contact with supercooled water, it attaches to the surface as ice. As it builds up, airframes are compromised.

"The balloons typically rise to an altitude of 60,000 feet," says King. "An instrumented vibrating wire is exposed to the supercooled water, which accretes as ice to the wire on contact. From the decrease in the wire's natural frequency, we can calculate the amount of supercooled liquid water aloft."

The balloon campaign is part of an on-going effort by the center's icing researchers to field test and develop products for disseminating icing hazard information to flight crews.

An experimental web-based system, currently available only to researchers, provides real-time, raw sensor data to provide a profile of conditions aloft. As the software, computers and sensors are refined, the aircraft community will benefit from access to better information for making critical decisions for overall safety.

Thanks for being here;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.
SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once

credit card or paypal
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5 Billed Monthly

paypal only


Related Links
Glenn Research Center
Aerospace News at

Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

Northrop Grumman provides 1,000th F-35 DAR sensor system
Rolling Meadows, Ill. (UPI) Feb 19, 2015
Northrop Grumman reports it has delivered its 1,000th distributed aperture system sensor for integration on F-35 Lightning II fighters. The AN/AAQ-37 DAR sensor - six in all aboard the F-35 - provides full spherical situational awareness to the aircraft's pilot by autonomously detecting and tracking aircraft and missiles in every direction. The system's video images are then projected ... read more

Application of laser microprobe technology to Apollo samples refines lunar impact history

NASA releases video of the far side of the Moon

US Issuing Licenses for Mineral Mining on Moon

LRO finds lunar hydrogen more abundant on Moon's pole-facing slopes

The highest plume ever observed on Mars

Opportunity Gets Small Energy Boost With Panel Dust Off

Mystery Mars plume baffles scientists

Up, Up and Away! First Humans Chosen for Mission to Mars

Sensors Detect Icing Conditions to Help Protect Airplanes

Industry: Risk aversion costs more than 'fast failure'

Boeing's Space Efforts to Be Managed by Newly Created Organization

Korean tech start-ups offer life beyond Samsung

More Astronauts for China

China launches the FY-2 08 meteorological satellite successfully

China's Long March puts satellite in orbit on 200th launch

Countdown to China's new space programs begins

Spacewalking 'cable guys' wrap up work outside station

Space Station 3-D Printed Items, Seedlings Return in the Belly of a Dragon

NASA preparing to reassemble International Space Station

Spacesuit woes haunt NASA ahead of crucial spacewalks

Moog offers "SoftRide" for enhanced spacecraft protection during launch

Russian-Ukrainian Satan Rocket to Launch South Korean Satellite as Planned

Soyuz Installed at Baikonur, Expected to Launch Wednesday

SpaceX launches deep-space weather observatory

Laser 'ruler' holds promise for hunting exoplanets

The mystery of cosmic oceans and dunes

Scientists predict earth-like planets around most stars

"Vulcan Planets" - Inside-Out Formation of Super-Earths

OHB and AAC develop InnoSat platform

From Vomit Comet to CubeSat

SSL-Built High-Throughput Satellite For Telenor Ready For Launch

NASA Team Develops New Ka-Band Communications System to Break Through the Noise

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement All images and articles appearing on Space Media Network have been edited or digitally altered in some way. Any requests to remove copyright material will be acted upon in a timely and appropriate manner. Any attempt to extort money from Space Media Network will be ignored and reported to Australian Law Enforcement Agencies as a potential case of financial fraud involving the use of a telephonic carriage device or postal service.