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Sukhoi Superjet undergoes natural icing trials

Sukhoi Superjet 100 successfully completes natural icing trials in Arkhangelsk

Sukhoi Civil Aircraft Flight Test Center welcomes back Sukhoi Superjet 100 S/N 95001, returning from Arkhangelsk after successful completion of natural icing tests.

The aircraft departed to Arkhangelsk, North Russia on April 11, 2009 and performed since than five flights, required to "catch the ice". Arkhangelsk has been chosen to host natural icing tests due to high possibility of conditions, favorable for icing. The flights had been performed between Murmansk and Arkhangelsk – on the shore of the White Sea.

Certification authorities challenge airframers with stringent requirements – since 2004, when these requirements had been revised, the aircraft is entitled to be able to continue safe flight even with failed anti-icing systems.

Natural icing tests challenge both active anti-icing protection and passive ability of the aircraft to resist against handling qualities deterioration caused by icing. Anti-icing system heats the front edge of the wing, engine inlets, and receivers on the aircraft surface and deices the windscreen. In case of anti-icing system failure, passive protection becomes crucioal – it relates to ability of the aircraft to retain good aerodynamic characteristics despite wing and empennage icing.

5 test days resulted in 5 flights - all 5 matching certification campaign requirements. "The aircraft and its systems, including anti-icing system, demonstrated excellent performance in normal and critical modes".- said Igor Vinogradov, First VP on Programme Coordination, Sukhoi Civil Aircraft. "None of the systems were showing any failures, caused by icing, all 5 flights were credited as certification and they confirmed the results obtained during rig tests in the years before. On top of this SCAC design team and IAC AR experts got their estimation on the ice shape confirmed prior to artificial icing tests".


An aircraft flying through a cold highly humid cloud becomes a center for crystallization of the water around. All wing front edges, blades, antennas, windscreen get covered with ice. Ice layer thickening rate depending on the conditions ranges from 1 to 6 mm per minutes. Wing profile, horizontal and vertical fins, providing superior aerodynamic performance, well tuned and double-checked in wind tunnels, get covered with uneven layers of ice contributing to aerodynamics deterioration. The ice gets so thick, that it can't be removed with bare hands after landing and, on the other hand, if it falls off in flight, it can damage the airframe and engine. Covered with ice, antennas and sensors report less accurate to the flight control system and avionics. Hatches and gears grow ice and can fault at extraction or retraction.

Press release issued by Sukhoi Civil Aircraft CJSC on April 28, 2009


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