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Ice formation

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How fast does ice form on planes in real world?

Looking at the two videos below, it seems that it forms very quickly (I don't know it they were using real weather or not and the temperature experienced).
What is strange is they pass through clouds only for a short period of time (less than 15 seconds in the Cessna video... 🤨), it looks very strange (but is amazing, indeed 😅

In this video ice forms at 15:20:

 

In this video ice is showed at 15:30, but I think it formed during the cloud passage at 14:15:

 

 

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Ice can come extremely quickly on airplanes. I've watched it grow right before my eyes when flying through clouds. 

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FAA: ATP-ME

Matt kubanda

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As said above ice can grow fast. While I appreciate that the ice will dry off over time once you‘re in clear air, I strongly dislike their ice accretion effect. Whenever I see ice build up on the wing it starts almost perfectly uniform over the leading edge. Not at all „patchy“ like it is rendered in the sim. Look at that 2nd video at 15:30 as you pointed out, I’ve never seen ice like this. Maybe after some anti-ice use or so, but it doesn’t grow like that.

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4 minutes ago, badderjet said:

I’ve never seen ice like this. Maybe after some anti-ice use or so, but it doesn’t grow like that.

 

Yeah, seems overdone on the airframe too.  Almost like someone googled "icing" and used the pictures of cakes as a reference. 

As a side note the A320 doesn't seem that bad in this video, at least not for a default AC.  This is the first video I've seen where the FD was even used, so it's nice to know that it works.


Brian W

KPAE, KRNT

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3 minutes ago, BrianW said:

As a side note the A320 doesn't seem that bad in this video, at least not for a default AC.  This is the first video I've seen where the FD was even used, so it's nice to know that it works.

Agree, it doesn't look bad. Probably in this video he used more realistic setting, compared to the videos released on 30th by others.

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It's overdone in the sim, but in fairness that is probably somewhat deliberate on the part of the developers in order to show it off as a capability of the sim, and part of it is almost certainly because 'eye candy sells'. In reality, ice can sometimes be really tricky to spot on your airframe (it only needs to be a really really thin coating on part of the upper surface of the wing to disrupt the airflow completely). The fact that only a little bit of ice can do this is one of the things which makes it particularly dangerous. That is why the A320 airliner has a little ice accretion mast on the front of it sticking out in between the windscreens, so it quickly becomes obvious visually that ice is forming; pretty much every other modern aeroplane has something like that too which sticks out near the windscreens, and even aeroplanes  which don't have things like that, usually have something devised by the pilots which can stand in for the role, such as the wiper arm on the 737 which is a pretty good early indicator for icing conditions.

Ice can form really quickly, and it doesn't even need to be icing conditions for this to occur either; cold-soaked fuel in the wing tanks can make your plane ice up when on the ground in temperatures well above freezing if there is a fair bit of humidity in the air. It's tricky to see it as well; this is why you will see aeroplanes geting de-iced on days when it quite clearly isn't even that cold, and by that, I mean warm enough to be out and about in a t-shirt.

It's not uncommon when you open the hold of an airliner, to find that there is quite a lot of ice inside the hold (especially the rear hold). I used to regularly find that the metal catering cans frequently carried in Turkish Airlines A320s, would literally be stuck to the metal floor of the cargo hold with ice, to the extent that you would have to lie on your back and really kick the things in order to free them up. That's because it can easily be -60 Degrees up where those airliners fly. 

In the videos you showed, particularly the first one, I seriously doubt the way that sky was looking (with all those fluffy cumulus clouds was the kind of sky where you'd get the kind of severe icing conditions coming on quickly just from flying through a bit of cloud for a second or two as the simulator depicted, so I think the capability is good, but it needs maybe the developers of Active Sky (HiFi) to have a crack at it in order to move it to more believable parameters, or maybe Asobo will do this.

What I would be interested to see with all this stuff, is the option to have your aeroplane de-iced/anti-iced, and this be reflected in the sim, both visually and in the effect it has. Anti-icing is usually good for about an hour tops (varies on the conditions, but that's a reasonable average). De-icing is more 'of the moment'. Visually, anti-icing is inclined to give your aeroplane an ever-so-slightly greenish tinge which is very noticeable because the fluid is greenish/yellowish and and about the consistency of machine oil, so it sticks on surfaces quite readily. Anti-icing on the other hand, is usually mostly just hot water to literally melt the ice off an airframe, sometimes with a bit of other stuff in there as well as the water. and if the graphics engine of the sim can have ice appearing on your airframe, them it must be able to depict translucent green slime on there as well. 🙂

Fun fact of the day concerning icing and aeroplanes: The stuff used on runways and ramps to get rid of ice years ago, was actually an extract from pig's urine called carbamide (carbonyl diamide). These days it is synthetically reproduced, the synthetic stuff isn't as good as the real original stuff, but it is more environmentally-friendly.


Alan Bradbury

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12 minutes ago, Chock said:

These days it is synthetically reproduced, the synthetic stuff isn't as good as the real original stuff, but it is more environmentally-friendly.

At Arlanda we use potassium formate for runways, taxiways and aprons, which is based from ant-acid, IIRC, and contains much less nitrogen than "urea" which we used earlier.

While the formate is decomposable by nature, it must not by any means mix with the ground water since lots of oxygen is consumed during the decomposition process, depriving the water from oxygen (making it inhabitable for animals)

We have (like all large airports) a complex sewer system and own treatment plant, where the formate/glycol/water-mix is cleaned and only then routed to adjacent rivers/lakes. 


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 And getting the pigs to cooperate is another issue.  Ice forms when moisture is present (duh!).  Most modern airliners climb quickly thru the area of the atmosphere where icing conditions exist and usually cruise well above it.  However Captain Dick Merrill of Eastern Airlines recounted his experiences of flying a DC-2 (yes) which could carry lots of ice, but at a lower and lower altitude until he finally wound up the the tops of some trees.  One of his only off field landings.  The point is that if there is moisture present and the OAT is around freezing, standby for Ice.

Jim Driskell

 

 

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James M Driskell, Maj USMC (Ret)

 

 

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My only real world experience of icing was a long time ago, but I still remember it well.  While I was doing my PPL, I got a chance at a ride in a King Air F90.  The King Air crew was getting a check out and they wanted a full cabin.  I scored a seat right behind the cockpit.  Later, the crew were doing their top of decent checklist and asked if anti-ice was required.  The check pilot gave a big nod and said yes!.  The "you word not allowed" was silent but clear.  I was confused.  We were in the low 20's and the sky was essentially clear.  There was a very wispy, scattered layer a few thousand feet below, but you could easily see through it, even at an angle.  This was a nothing cloud.  Why all the fuss?  (BTW anti-ice in a King Air requires each pilot to pull a big metal lever into their groin, in addition to several switches)

Well, we sliced through that cloud in less than a second and it was as if someone took a bucket of white wash and threw it at the windshield.  The view out front was completely obscured and even with the heated windshield it took several minutes to clear.

Always respect icing conditions.

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Sad but valuable lessons in extreme icing in this Air Safety Institute video.  Sounds like fast icing certainly possible, even for complex aircraft with de-icing protection.

 

 

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9 hours ago, BrianW said:

As a side note the A320 doesn't seem that bad in this video, at least not for a default AC.  This is the first video I've seen where the FD was even used, so it's nice to know that it works.

Exactly my thoughts. It looks like an early Alpha of a good addon plane.

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Hoar frost can also turn your plane into a popsicle while climbing through an inversion layer with no clouds present. The ice will have a white,  crystal texture and is very porous.

For basic aircraft like cessna 152/172 etc, though not as serious threat compared to other types of ice accumulation, you wont be able to see anything through the windshield.

After awhile, the ice will evaporate (by sublimation, just as it was formed)

With the new graphics engine and its vast capabilities intertwined with the aerodynamic models, I think we will see any kind of ice build-up on MSFS planes in the future.


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The icing feature that they made is more like what you'd expect when flying through heavy snow fall. Patches of white on some parts. I think ice would be more transparent and equally spread out.

In all, it looks much too dramatic in my opinion.


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Posted (edited)

Can't wait to see what Hi Fi does with the new capabilities. We will get every type of icing and maybe even fogging windows.

Edited by WestAir
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Rules of Wisdom:
Take-offs are optional, landings are mandatory.
The only time you have too much fuel is when you're on fire.
Your airline can only make a small fortune by starting with an even larger fortune.

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The C208B Caravan is one of the most efficient “ice accumulators“ of any aircraft flying. When FedEx first put the cargo version in service in the 1980s, they lost several due to inflight icing in winter ops. In every case, the aircraft picked up so much ice on the wings, struts and gear that they literally fell out of the sky. Since the Caravan typically operates at low altitudes, and is relatively slow, they are often in the “prime icing zone” of winter storms for extended periods.

The Caravan originally came equipped with inflatable deice boots on the leading edges of the wings. New Caravans are equipped with TKS anti-icing systems. TKS fluid is a transparent, slightly viscous mixture of glycol and alcohol that is stored in a tank on the aircraft. The leading edge of the wings are metal, and the metal surface contains thousands of very tiny holes. The TKS fluid is supplied to the leading edges under pressure by a pump, and oozes out of the holes, which quickly coats the leading edge with a thin layer of the fluid. The TKS is both a deice and anti-ice measure. It will melt ice that has already formed, and will prevent new ice from accumulating.

FedEx has now retrofitted all their Caravans that originally had pneumatic boots with the TKS system. 

The Hawker business jet also uses TKS. Most business jets (and airliners) use wing leading edges heated by engine bleed air for ice prevention or removal. The original Hawker series 1 introduced in the early 1960s used relatively small Bristol-Siddeley  Viper engines that did not have enough reserve bleed air capacity to supply heated leading edges, so TKS was used instead. Later model Hawkers with Honeywell TFE731 engines could have easily supported heated wings, but doing so would have required obtaining a completely new type certificate for the aircraft, so the TKS system was retained even for late-model Hawker 800XP variants.

TKS actually works quite well, but it has a couple of drawbacks. Deicing capability depends on the supply of TKS fluid. If it runs out, you are in trouble. The biggest problem is that when TKS has been used in flight, it tends to continue dripping from the leading edges for quite some time after the aircraft has landed. If the aircraft is brought into a hangar after landing, the TKS will form small puddles under the wings. TKS looks just like water, but it is extremely slippery, especially on a painted hangar floor. There have been many serious injuries to ground personnel from falls occasioned by stepping in TKS puddles.

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Jim Barrett

Licensed Airframe & Powerplant Mechanic, Avionics, Electrical & Air Data Systems Specialist. Qualified on: Falcon 900, CRJ-200, Dornier 328-100, Hawker 850XP and 1000, Lear 35, 45, 55 and 60, Gulfstream IV and 550, Embraer 135, Beech Premiere and 400A, MD-80.

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