FAAM BAe 146ARA test-flies optical ice detection probe

OID test unit mounted on the 146ARA

The Optical Ice Detector (OID) test unit was mounted on the lower, outer position, of G-LUXE’s starboard instrument pylon (GKN Aerospace)

FAAM’s BAe 146-301ARA G-LUXE (msn E3001) had her first commercial customer when she test-flew an optical ice detection probe on behalf of GKN Aerospace. GKN Aerospace’s patented Optical Ice Detector (OID) features a small sensor head with optical fibres arranged to emit laser light into any ice that forms over the head. By collecting the laser light reflected by the ice, the system can confirm the presence of ice, as well as measuring its thickness and rate of accretion. The OIDs could thus allow more precise control of an aircraft’s ice protection system (IPS), by only activating it in areas where ice is actually accreting. GKN Aerospace contracted with FAAM to design and certify the OID test unit and mount it on the 146ARA (on the lower, outer position, of the starboard instrument pylon), and then fly it on its regular missions. In the event, icing conditions were encountered on the very first flight on which the OID was carried, in late March, enabling the necessary tests to be conducted. Further flights may be needed in the future, as development of the OID progresses.

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