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04-021
For Release: March 26, 2004

Katherine K. Martin
Media Relations Office
216/433-2406
katherine.martin@nasa.gov


New Research Aircraft Arrives at NASA

NASA's Aviation Safety and Security Program will get a big boost today as its future icing flight research capabilities are increased by the arrival at NASA's Glenn Research Center, Cleveland, of an S-3 Viking, a former Navy aircraft.

With eight times the range of Glenn's current icing research aircraft, the S-3 will be modified by Glenn technicians to allow in-flight icing weather forecast and incorporate diagnostic tools. The aircraft is scheduled to begin performing research flights in November, 2006.

"We're excited to take delivery of the S-3 from the Navy. The increased power, speed, and range of this aircraft will provide new opportunities for our researchers to explore large scale icing weather movement, high speed icing physics and database development for improved validation of icing simulation models," said Tom Bond, chief of Glenn's Icing Branch."

Between 1994 and 2001, three major U.S. aircraft icing accidents, with 97 fatalities, along with multiple other icing incidents in the regional aircraft fleet re-emphasized the need for a modern aircraft to perform icing flight research.

"This is truly an outstanding opportunity for NASA, Glenn Research Center and the icing research community. This aircraft will enhance our world class capability and enable us to perform critical safety-based research to meet the challenges of today's commercial aircraft," according to Tom Ratvasky, icing flight researcher at Glenn.

The current icing research aircraft, a DeHavilland Twin Otter, has been the workhorse for Glenn's in-flight icing research for 22 years. Its projects have included icing cloud characterization, natural icing physics studies, full scale iced aircraft aerodynamics and ice protection development. It has also helped solve the problems of tailplane stall and super-cooled large droplet dangers. However, to support NASA's new aviation safety objectives, strategic icing research plans have identified that icing flight research will require increased capability in range, speed, payload, and on-board power beyond the Twin Otter's capabilities.

The S-3 range and speed will enable research flights from Cleveland to Wyoming and back in a single day. These increased capabilities are essential in the areas of improved aviation weather forecast development, icing simulation tool development, icing cloud characterization, identification and simulation of aerodynamic effects of icing, and continued development of education and training materials for modern regional and general aviation/business aircraft operators.

The S-3 is representative of the modern regional fleet of aircraft as a research tool to develop in-flight characterization of natural icing phenomena. This will provide validation of all ground-based experimental and computational research. Specifically, the S-3 will allow increased knowledge and understanding of effects of iced aerodynamics, large-scale icing weather movement and tracking, improved computational fluid dynamics and simulation and pilot training material.

Aircraft icing research at Glenn is based on the use of two major facilities, the Icing Research Tunnel and an icing research aircraft, the Twin Otter. These facilities, along with computational tools, experimental methods, and highly specialized instrumentation employed by the Icing Branch, have led to the successful advancement of safety-based research supported in Glenn's Aircraft Icing Project.

The NASA Aviation Safety and Security Program is a partnership with the Federal Aviation Administration, aircraft manufacturers, airlines and the Department of Homeland Security that's working to reduce the fatal aircraft accident rate and protect air travelers and the public from security threats.

Researchers at four NASA field installations have teamed with the FAA and industry to develop advanced, affordable technologies to make flying safer and more secure: Glenn; Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif., Dryden Flight Research Center, Edwards, Calif., and Langley Research Center, Hampton, Va.

For more information about Glenn's Icing Program on the Internet, visit: http://icebox.grc.nasa.gov/

For more information on the NASA Aviation Safety and Security Program on the Internet, visit: http://avsp.larc.nasa.gov

A photo of the S-3 Viking aircraft can be found at: http://www.grc.nasa.gov/WWW/PAO/pressrel/2004/04-021addm.html

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