In-flight icing of UAVs recent advances in overcoming the frozen barrier

30th January h. 15, Dipartimento di Scienze e Tecnologie Aerospaziali, Politecnico di Milano, Sala Consiglio DAER, Second Floor, Building B12, Campus Bovisa La Masa, Milano


The last decade has shown great technological progress in the field of unmanned aircraft vehicles (UAVs) and many new applications have seen the light of day.

To facilitate this fast-paced progress and capitalize on the potential of the technology, it is critical to overcoming operational limitations. One key operational hazard is atmospheric in-flight icing.

In-flight icing occurs when an aircraft encounters supercooled liquid droplets in the air. These droplets impinge and freeze on the aircraft resulting in large aerodynamic penalties, sometimes with catastrophic consequences.

While already an established phenomenon in manned aviation, little work has been done in the UAV community so far. Due to the operational profiles, the sizes of the aircraft, and not having human decision-makers in the loop, in-flight icing poses a severe threat to the UAV industry and should therefore be addressed with the same rigor as in manned aviation.

This lecture will give an overview of the general topic of in-flight icing, the special challenges related to unmanned aircraft, and showcase recent advances in the field including numerical CFD and experimental icing wind tunnel results.

Richard Hann

Short Bio
Richard Hann is a researcher at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) and director of the UAV Icing Lab. His research focusses on the topic of icing on unmanned aerial vehicles. In 2013, he has graduated with excellence from the University of Stuttgart in Germany as an aerospace engineer. Richard has more than ten years of experience with numerical (CFD) and experimental icing aerodynamics on wind turbines and aircraft. Today, he is one of the leading researchers in the emerging research field of icing on unmanned aircraft. He also holds a position as head of aerodynamics at UBIQ Aerospace. Richard is also promoting the application of drone technology in the Arctic with several ongoing projects in the fields of meteorology, glaciology, and atmospheric pollution at the University Centre in Svalbard.


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