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Rotorcraft Anti-Icing Systems

  • Magazine Article
  • 17AERP06_04
Published June 01, 2017 by SAE International in United States
  • English

Flying anytime, anywhere, in all-weather conditions is one of the most challenging technology and capability goals across the rotorcraft industry to meet a growing demand for reliability, safety and the ability to allow platforms and their operators to deliver whenever needed. Countering the detrimental and dangerous effects of ice on rotorcraft is part of this mission and Leonardo Helicopters has devoted significant efforts over the years to design, develop, test and integrate ice protection systems onto its current generation production aircraft models.

A range of applications can benefit from ice protection systems including onshore/offshore transport and short-to long-range rescue duties. The military market is no exception. Depending on geographies and missions, customers can require different kinds of dedicated systems ensuring varying degrees of protection stemming from the various levels of icing condition severity. Although it can be hard to determine the number of missions lost by operators globally during winter months due to ice, customers' estimates indicate 10-15% operations lost in the North Sea, while around 8% of operations can't be carried out for the same reason in the North Pacific Ocean and Sakhalin Island (Russia). Swiss Air Rescue Rega stated that over 600 missions are aborted every year, also due (but not only) to icing conditions.