Paris may be hot as fire but Thompson, Manitoba, where the temperature is below freezing 256 days out of the year, is not likely to be so.

That is the location of a new engine icing test venture between Pratt & Whitney, Rolls-Royce and Canada's National Research Council (NRC), an organisation embedded in a plethora of global technology projects to enhance aviation safety and efficiency.

P&W recently put the ice to its PW1524G geared turbofan engine for the Bombardier CSeries at the global aerospace centre for icing and environmental research (GLACIER), and Rolls-Royce is slated to use the facility this summer for non-ice-related endurance certification testing of its Trent XWB engine for the Airbus A350.

Jerzy Komorowski, director-general of NRC Aerospace, says the P&W geared turbofan tests were part of an initial shakedown of the cold weather testing facility, primarily funded by P&W and R-R.

Aside from mosquitoes in the summer and temperatures too cold for ice to form in the dead of winter, Manitoba has one key advantage over some other icing facilities - both spring and autumn seasons are conducive to creating the types of super-cooled large droplet icing conditions that aviation regulators are increasingly keen on testing engines and airframes in.

"[At other locations], there's a few days or weeks in a year [with the right conditions], then you have to go back next year," said Komorowski. "Here, every five months you have an icing season."

"We're extremely pleased with the quality of clouds we produce. It's the best we've ever done," he added.

The facility is designed to handle engines producing as much as 150,000lb thrust (670kN), significantly larger than the most powerful turbine engines now available, at 120,000lb thrust, said Komorowski.

The facility uses two spray masts in a flow field created by the engine itself.

For times when icing conditions are not ideal, the facility can be used for various other engine tests, such as endurance, which R-R will be running this summer. P&W will return in the autumn to run another series of icing tests on the PurePower engine.

Source: Flight Daily News