AgustaWestland's Merlin HM1 maritime helicopter has passed snow and icing trials held in Canada earlier this year as part of the process to win UK Military Aircraft Release certification.

The aircraft's basic ice protection systems successfully met all performance criteria, with the Rotor Ice Protection System (RIPS) rotor heating device operating as designed, according to Stephen Cooke, spokesman for trials co-ordinator DERA. The trials also showed that a revised airframe location for the Ice and Snow Detection System (ISDS) to be working well.

The results were gathered at the Shearwater site in Halifax, Canada, where many previous snow and icing trials have taken place.

The operation of helicopters in snow entails significant dangers, from engine stalls caused by ingestion of airframe slush buildups to blocked vents and poor visibility through the windscreen. "The trials to date go a long way towards identifying optimum envelopes for Merlin operations in snow and icing conditions," says Cooke.

These results form part of a series of trials to prove the Merlin MH1 and HC3 for front-line use.

Source: Flight Daily News