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UTSI’s Course in Aircraft Icing Draws Major Aircraft Firm Reps

Personnel from three major aircraft companies were among those attending a course dealing with aircraft icing offered for the second time at The University of Tennessee Space Institute.

Richard Ranaudo, director of the short course held May 9-13, said the training – first offered last October and scheduled again this fall – provides attendees an opportunity to “experience the hazardous effects of icing on aircraft handling in a safe manner.”

The Institute’s Navion variable stability aircraft – programmed to handle like NASA’s icing research planes — is used in the courses to simulate in-flight icing effects. This provides a “very unique focus on the effects of in-flight icing on aircraft handling characteristics,” according to Ranaudo, assistant research professor in UTSI’s Aviation Systems Department headed by Ralph D. Kimberlin.

“Several subject matter experts lectured on a wide range of topics that included icing-related meteorology, accretion physics, aerodynamics, and aircraft stability and control,” Ranaudo said. Additional lectures were provided on in-flight and ground icing simulation facilities, helicopter icing problems, aircraft icing certification, and aircraft handling issues relating to an ice-contaminated tail plane.

Bombardier Aerospace, Cessna Aircraft Corporation, and Raytheon Aircraft Corporation personnel as well as representatives of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) airworthiness certification offices in Atlanta and Los Angeles, and the U.S. Forrest Service attended.

Lecturers came from the National Center for Atmospheric Research, NASA, The University of Illinois, Arnold Engineering Development Center, U.S. Army, FAA, and UTSI.

“Following two days of rigorous classroom lectures, attendees were provided flight training in the NASA Icing Effects Flight Training Device, and in the Institute’s Navion,” Ranaudo said.

At the conclusion of the course, those attending were able to share their flight training experiences and general impressions of icing effects on aircraft handling.

Scott Runyan, Senior Flight Test Engineer with Bombardier Aerospace, said, “The aircraft and simulator flight reinforced the lecture material and provided a safe demonstration of how airframe ice can significantly degrade aircraft handling. This class was excellent, and I would recommend it to anyone who wanted to know more about icing. The class was well organized, starting with Icing Meteorology and finishing with the Twin Otter Tail Plane Icing information.”

Another attendee saw “great potential” in the variable stability airplane and (ground) simulator “to fill a need in the General Aviation pilot pool for education on in-flight icing.” Yet another praised the simulation evaluation and thought the ability to “explore the envelope and explore incorrect inputs was realistic and valuable to increasing operational experience operating in icing conditions.”

Another course is planned for October. Further information may be obtained from Becky Stines, Director of Continuing Education Programs at UTSI, at or (931) 393-7276.