Event Summary – Icing Testing on Helicopters: The Bell 525 & NRC Capabilities

On Wednesday February 21st, more than 80 enthusiastic participants gathered at the Bell Textron Canada Limited facility in Mirabel for the first Montreal-Ottawa VFS Chapter event of the year, titled “Icing Testing on Helicopters: The Bell 525 & NRC Capabilities”. The event featured two distinguished speakers, Dr. David Orchard from the National Research Council’s (NRC) and Dr. Albert Brand from Bell, who shared valuable insights into recent advancements on rotorcraft icing research.

Dr. David Orchard set the tone for the event with a detailed overview of the National Research Council’s (NRC) wind tunnels testing capabilities, including conventional icing and Supercooled Large Droplets (SLD) conditions, a new type of icing condition required by modern certification. Dr. Orchard highlighted how wind tunnel data and newly developed computer models of icing can be used in conjunction to provide a deeper understanding of icing effects and the performance of anti-icing systems.

Dr. David Orchard, National Research Council (NRC)

Dr. Albert Brand took the audience on a fascinating journey into the design choices of the Bell 525’s icing protection systems and the impact of ice accretion on the aircraft’s flight and various subsystems. He then described the Bell 525’s initial icing testing, from preparatory component testing to thrilling flight in artificial icing conditions using the CH-47 Helicopter Icing Spray System (HISS). Dr. Brand concluded by hinting at future testing of the Bell 525 in natural icing conditions occurring in the coming year.

Dr. Albert Brand, Bell Textron

The VFS and the Montreal-Ottawa chapter would like to extend their sincere thanks to the speakers who generously volunteered their time to support the event, as well as to the active and engaged chapter members who attended. A special note of appreciation goes to our dedicated volunteers whose work made the event a success. More opportunities for learning, networking, and growth are on the horizon for 2024, including a future event in Ottawa in April and the Forum 80 at the Montreal Palais des Congrès on May 7-9 2024.

Montreal/Ottawa VFS crew with the presenters