ROBOTIC VISION Systems (RVSI) is to develop an on-aircraft wide-area ice-detection system for flight testing by the US Federal Aviation Administration. The system will be based on RVSI's hand-held ice detector, now in use with Delta Air Lines' Boston-New York-Washington shuttle service.

The hand-held ID-1H is an imaging system which uses infra-red illumination of the wing to detect frozen water in any form - ice, snow, frost, or slush - even through water or de-icing fluid. Contamination shows up as white on the display. The airborne system will have a cockpit display linked to sensors mounted so as to monitor the wing continuously, on the ground and in flight.

Hauppage, New York-based RVSI says that the airborne system will require development of a longer-range sensor able to view an entire wing, rather than just the 11m section now possible. A prototype will be delivered to the FAA in 18-24 months under a $1.1 million contract, with the costs being shared 50:50 by RVSI and the FAA.

RVSI hopes to have a system available for certification within two years. Instead of the cockpit display, the firm says that it may develop software to interpret the sensor image and provide an alert "light" warning of ice.

Source: Flight International