Prediction of icing effects on the dynamic response of light airplanes Academic Article uri icon


  • The accumulation of ice on an airplane in flight is one of the leading contributing factors to general aviation accidents. To date, only relatively sophisticated methods based on detailed empirical data and flight data exist for its analysis. This paper develops a methodology and simulation tool for preliminary safety and performance evaluations of airplane dynamic response and climb performance in icing conditions. The important aspect of dynamic response sensitivity to pilot control input with the autopilot disengaged is also highlighted. Using only basic mass properties, configuration, propulsion data, and known icing data from a similar configuration, icing effects are applied to the dynamics of a non-real-time, six degree-of-freedom simulation model of a different, but similar, light airplane. Besides evaluating various levels of icing severity, the paper addresses distributed icing which consists of wing alone, horizontal tail alone, and unequal distributions of combined wing and horizontal tail icing. Results presented in the paper for a series of simulated climb maneuvers with various levels and distributions of ice accretion show that the methodology captures the basic effects of ice accretion on pitch response and climb performance, and the sensitivity of the dynamic response to pilot control inputs.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Lampton, A., & Valasek, J.

citation count

  • 21

complete list of authors

  • Lampton, Amanda||Valasek, John

publication date

  • May 2007