NASA to obtain ice data for advanced control algorithms

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NASA's Glenn Research Centre has issued a contract to Aerospace Corporation to develop artificial ice shapes that will be used for wind tunnel testing as part of the agency's plan to develop more robust automatic flight control systems for aircraft.

The ice shapes will be attached to the wings and tail surfaces of a subscale model aircraft to determine "iced aircraft" aerodynamics, key measurements needed for digital simulations that NASA will use to develop the advanced control systems.

NASA notes that current automated aircraft control methods do not account for degraded aircraft performance and operations if ice builds up on wing and tail surface leading edges, effects that can lead to loss of control accidents.