FAA Sponsored Aircraft Icing Weather Research Initiatives

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Thursday, 8 January 2015: 1:30 PM
129A (Phoenix Convention Center - West and North Buildings)
Dino J. Rovito, FAA, Washington, DC; and T. Bond, J. Riley, M. Politovich, G. Cunning, S. Abelman, W. Fellner, and M. Gunzelman

Icing is one of the major weather hazards to aviation, especially for general aviation (GA) type aircraft which have the highest accident and fatality rates of all aircraft flying today. Icing contributed to 140 GA aircraft accidents in the period from 2000 to 2013. The icing hazard spans the National Airspace System from aircraft on the ground awaiting take-off to those at cruise altitudes. Enhancements and improvements to current icing weather products along with development of new icing weather products in response to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen) requirements are expected to improve overall aircraft safety. The FAA is currently sponsoring icing weather research to improve content of and access to weather diagnosis and forecast capabilities for use by all pilots and flight crews. The primary purpose of the icing research is to develop automated diagnostic and forecast icing capabilities that will be used by pilots, flight crews, dispatchers and meteorologists to make timely decisions on icing threat areas, optimized routings, and areas to avoid as dictated by regulations. This presentation will provide an overview of the FAA Aviation Weather Research Program's Icing Research focusing on three major research areas: (1) In-Flight; 2) Terminal Area Icing Weather Information; and 3) High Altitude Turbine Engine Icing and how this research will benefit safety and efficiency of flight. The first area, in-flight icing research, focuses on improvements to existing icing products available to pilots, development of a long-needed icing diagnosis and forecast product for Alaska and also development of an enhanced continental U.S. (CONUS) icing capability that will diagnose and forecast icing using Liquid Water Content, Drop Size Distribution, and Temperature weather parameters. The second major area of research to be discussed will be the development of a capability to detect and forecast ground and airborne icing in the Airport Terminal Area. Improved detection and forecasts of ground icing is needed as well as diagnosis and forecasts of airborne icing in the terminal's arrival and departure routes. The focus of the third area of research is on diagnosis and forecast of high-altitude turbine engine icing which can cause power loss and temporary engine shut-down. This type of icing is related to flight through areas of high ice water content found in deep convective clouds. Improved diagnosis and forecasts are needed to aid flight crews in the avoidance of these hazardous areas. This presentation will provide a look at current icing capabilities and shortfalls and the status of on-going research to improve these shortfalls by the development of new icing diagnosis and forecast capabilities to meet future FAA NextGen needs.