News & Events

12/02/19

Weathering storms for generations

This article originally appeared on page 34 in the November/December 2019 issue of Regional International, the official magazine of ERA (European Regions Airline Association) and is reprinted with permission. The full issue can be found at https://www.eraa.org/publications/regional-international

Regional and business aircraft OEMs, pilots and owners can now turn to Collins Aerospace for the most innovative de-icing technologies in the industry, courtesy of its Goodrich portfolio of solutions.

Originally part of the B.F. Goodrich Company, this long-standing de-icing business is now part of Collins Aerospace. Ken Heath is the Business Development Manager for the Goodrich de-icing portfolio at Collins Aerospace; who tells us:

“There has always been and there will always be a need for de-icing equipment on aircraft that could possibly fly into known icing conditions. Aircraft icing can occur virtually anywhere in the world and is dependent on the air temperature at altitude and the presence of moisture.

“Pilots will tell you that of all the negative weather conditions they might encounter while flying, icing is at or near the top of the list. Many pilots prefer not to fly in an icing condition, but there are times when it is unavoidable.“

Standing the test of time

The pneumatic ice protection system was the company’s first commercial product, launching on the Northrop Alpha mail plane in 1932. “There hasn’t been a lot of change over the years to pneumatic de-icing system architecture”, Heath explains. “Pneumatic de-icing remains one of the most efficient methods of removing ice from aircraft while in flight in terms of ice removal, power requirements and system weight. The greatest changes to the systems over the years have been improvements to the individual components, primarily changes to the de-ice boot materials.”

Today, Goodrich de-icing products – including pneumatic de-icers, electrothermal ice protection and heating products, rotor ice protection systems, windshield heat controllers, and wiper systems – remain the ice protection market leaders, type certified on more than 95 per cent of OEM non-bleed air aircraft platforms.

“Although we’ve had some ownership changes over the years, what hasn’t changed is our commitment to applying new de-icing technology to already proven products to meet our customers’ ever-changing needs. In fact, our focus on ice protection research and development has resulted in more than 130 ice protection product patents granted to us since 1930, including the invention of the pneumatic de-icer. No other company can make that claim.

“As our engineering and research and development teams learn more about de-icing aircraft, we continue to improve production processes and develop new materials to withstand the rigours associated with this vital system.”

Commitment to flight safety

At Collins Aerospace, the Goodrich portfolio designs and manufactures several types of ice protection and detection systems for a wide range of aircraft types that operate at different speeds and for different missions.

“Ice accumulation on the leading edge of an aircraft can significantly disrupt the airflow over the wings, thus affecting lift”, Heath continues. “Because aircraft engines are limited in the amount of ice they can ingest, this creates a potential safety issue. It is critical for operators to have systems, processes, and procedures in place to ensure their aircraft can take off and land safely when the potential for an icing encounter exists.”

Quality installation and ongoing service for the Goodrich product portfolio is ensured through the more than 60 global locations. In addition, proprietary design engineering, materials and manufacturing processes are optimised and validated in Collins’ state-of-the-art icing wind tunnel and rain erosion silo.

“In our particular business, we’re only a layer or two removed from the end customer,” Heath says. “To ensure we are in touch with both the needs of our customers and the industry at large, we participate in numerous global icing committees, operator conferences and manufacturer conferences. Additionally, our Collins Aerospace team has long demonstrated its commitment to flight safety, several of our employees serve as industry experts on the AC-9C Aircraft Icing Technology Committee and American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. We’re honoured to share our expertise with these groups as they help set policy for aircraft worldwide.”