High Ice Water Content (HIWC) Research
The aviation sector has compiled information on over one hundred engine weather–related powerloss events, and concluded that these events are due to flight through areas of high Ice Water Content (IWC) associated with deep convective clouds. Recent powerloss events have included multiple engine temporary failures, including a recent successful no–power landing in Florida. In addition to the obvious safety concerns, these events can also lead to costly engine repairs. As a result, an industry working group has recommended the collection of data sets to characterize the microphysical properties of these clouds, which will be used to provide guidance to manufacturers, and to develop a new certification rule for engine performance in high IWC environments. Major funding contributors include NASA, the FAA, Transport Canada, the Boeing Company, Environment Canada, and the Australian Bureau of Meteorology. A NASA S–3 aircraft will be instrumented for cloud microphysics and will also record engine parameters. This will lead to a better understanding of the characteristics of high IWC regions, processes creating them, and details of their effects on jet engines. Two field studies are planned: in Puerto Rico in summer–fall 2010, to test new instrumentation; and in Darwin, Australia in early 2011 time frame to collect a comprehensive characterization data set. S3 flights will be coordinated with the existing ground–based research radar and other instruments in the area. RAL's role is the development of a warning tool for avoidance of these potentially hazardous environments, as well as forcast and scientific support during the field efforts.