NASA recently conducted Engine Icing Validation testing -- the first of its kind worldwide. This testing lets engine manufacturers simulate flying through the upper atmosphere, where large amounts of icing particles can be ingested and cause "flame outs" or loss of engine power, according to NASA.
In this photo, John Wargo, lead technician at NASA Glenn's Propulsion System Laboratory, is performing an inspection on the inlet ducting upstream of the Honeywell ALF 502 engine that was recently used for the testing. NASA reports that the testing was successful in validating the lab's new capability (a capability that no other engine test facility has).
The lab is working with industry to address the icing issue by allowing engines "to be operated at the same temperature and pressure conditions experienced in flight, with ice particles being ingested into full scale engines to simulate flight through a deep convective cloud," according to NASA.
These tests will help establish methods and techniques to assess engine icing, and help determine how icing can impact an engine's safety, performance and operability.
Image courtesy of NASA/Bridget R. Caswell (Wyle Information Systems, LLC)