Finding a cure for icing airplanes

June 2004
InTech;Jun2004, Vol. 51 Issue 6, p19
The buildup of ice on airplanes in flight is a major winter hazard for small and commuter planes. Scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, Colorado, are testing a new system that may pinpoint water droplets in clouds that cause icing, potentially enabling pilots to avoid dangerous areas. The system, known as S-Polka, combines two existing radars that use different wavelengths. By studying the differences between the images that reflect back to the radar, scientists hope to find tiny water droplets that are difficult to distinguish using either radar alone. The two radars are on a single pedestal at the NCAR Marshall facility in Colorado. They precisely align to look at the same defined area at the same time. Researchers will compare the radar images with data collected from a University of North Dakota Citation research airplane flying in the test area to determine whether the radar system is pinpointing water droplets.


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