Icing - Inflight, Ground, and Engine

Providing operational, high-resolution, accurate diagnoses and forecasts of aircraft icing conditions

Inflight icing is both an aviation safety and efficiency issue. Icing is a cause or factor in numerous fatal aircraft accidents. Yet, current official forecasts typically cover more space and time than needed and thus deny use of aircraft or airspace unnecessarily. Avoidance of icing conditions would be possible with improved operationally–available, high–resolution, accurate diagnoses and forecasts.

Our goal is a gridded depiction of inflight including probability, expected severity and supercooled large drop areas. The Current Icing Product (CIP) combines model output with real–time sensor data to provide a diagnosis of icing conditions across the CONUS. The Forecast Icing Product (FIP) uses model surrogates to provide a forecast up to 12 h. CIP and FIP resolution is currently 1 h/20 km/1000 ft, but future versions will offer higher resolution. Collaboration with the aviation community is needed to establish the scales required for useful and accurate icing hazard depiction, and for estimation of expected icing severity.

Components of the integrated algorithms are developed and evaluated prior to their inclusion. Verification is an important part of the development process, and is accomplished using voice pilot reports and data from research aircraft.

We are working with the Joint Planning and Development Office of the Next–Generation Air Transportation System, both to guide forecast and observational requirements, and to identify potential operational impacts and training/education needs for the future.

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Icing - Inflight, Ground, and Engine