Reducing Aviation Icing Risk program


Icing has been a significant issue for aircraft operators since the dawn of aviation, presenting major safety and cost issues in Canada and around the world. The Reducing Aviation Icing Risk (RAIR) program addresses current critical challenges by developing, demonstrating, evaluating and certifying new technologies to detect, characterize and mitigate icing threats.

The program transfers technologies and processes to industry that will reduce the costs of production and icing product qualification and which help regulators to develop certification standards and engineering tools for demonstrating compliance with these standards. Through its collaborative partnerships, world-class icing facilities and extensive icing expertise and technical services, the RAIR program works to increase the competitiveness of the Canadian aerospace industry by developing and testing next-generation icing qualification technologies and solutions.


Collaborate with us

Collaborate with us on strategic research projects to help de-risk your innovative ideas, reduce your start-up costs and accelerate your commercial development timelines.

Collaboration opportunities

Within NRC's icing research and technology development (R&TD) sector, we are developing a number of technologies that are ready for demonstration. Building on this solid foundation, NRC is looking for innovative partners who can benefit from these critical advancements and eventually help move these new technologies to commercialization.

Potential partners include:

  • Aircraft operators, who will realize lower operating costs associated with ground de-icing and flight delays, as well as reduced costs of re-routing, and safer aircraft operation under icing conditions.
  • Aircraft original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), who will be able to develop reliable products that have minimal operating risk under icing conditions, and to offer increased aircraft and rotorcraft availability under known icing conditions.
  • Engine OEMs, who will be able to develop new engine technologies capable of meeting current and future icing certification rules, with lower operating and certification costs.
  • Instrument suppliers, who will be able to develop new aircraft and engine instrumentation that will reliably detect the in-flight icing threat, and can be certified against existing and new regulations at a lower cost.
  • Regulators, who will work with NRC to develop certification standards for safe flight operations in icing environments, based on a complete understanding of the icing threat.
  • Others, including Canadian companies that possess or seek expertise in aviation icing mitigation.

Within five years, NRC will develop high-technology readiness level (TRL) ice-detection sensors, as well as wing and engine technologies. Our goal is to transfer these technologies to the Canadian aerospace industry, lowering the cost of product development and icing qualification by 10%. NRC will also develop and transfer validated icing tools (sea-level experimental facilities in Canada and 3D ice-accretion numerical models) capable of simulating icing conditions that are necessary for certification against forthcoming regulations.

NRC's research priorities for RAIR include:

  • The advancement of technologies that meet industry needs to mitigate performance degradation of aircraft due to ice build-up on wings, control surfaces, engines and critical instrumentation probes;
  • The development of accurate instruments that can detect the threat of icing under specific atmospheric conditions, enable new product certification rules, and reduce operational safety risks and costs; and
  • The design and development of experimental validation tools and facilities, which industry can exploit as a means of compliance during product certification.
Collaborator benefits

For the past 60 years, NRC has developed world-leading icing facilities and competencies in aviation icing. We're world-renowned for gathering and analyzing the data that underpin key regulations, and for understanding fundamental physical phenomena and their associated impacts on aircraft performance and safety.

NRC will work closely with the aerospace industry to address critical icing challenges. We'll provide aircraft and engine manufacturers, instrument suppliers and flight regulators with technologies, processes and facilities that will reduce the cost of product development and qualification. As a result, aircraft operators will benefit from operational savings due to reduced flight times, fewer delays and increased aircraft availability. In addition to these industry-wide advantages, our RAIR partners will realize the following benefits:

  • Access to unique icing expertise, combined with competitive rates, customized service options, and measures to ensure partner data integrity and confidentiality;
  • Access to a world-class research infrastructure, including state-of-the-art systems for generating super-cooled liquid water droplets and ice crystals, and the Global Aerospace Centre for Icing and Environmental Research (GLACIER), the world's foremost facility for researching internal icing in gas turbine engines;
  • Maximal opportunities for collaboration between national and international industry partners and regulatory agencies;
  • Access to ground-based (sea-level) and airborne test facilities that simulate the conditions needed to gather critical certification evidence; and
  • Established national and international icing expertise through NRC's membership in the Aircraft Icing Research Alliance (AIRA) and the Engine Icing Working Group (EIWG), and partnerships in the Ice Crystal Consortium (ICC) and the High Altitude Ice Crystals (HAIC) program.
Technical and advisory services

NRC has a long history of conducting research, performing technical services and developing technology solutions to address various icing problems. Our strengths have enabled us to develop, manage and deliver results for complex multi-year projects, through consortia, collaborative research and fee-for-service agreements. NRC has significant expertise in:

  • Airborne research
  • Airworthiness certification
  • Flight test and evaluation
  • Gas turbine engine certification
  • Icing formation, detection and mitigation
  • Sensors
Research facilities

Partners and clients have access to our world-class facilities, enabling them to develop, test, certify and deliver essential next-generation icing qualification technologies. NRC is a founding partner in GLACIER in Thompson, Manitoba, which is used for large engine certification tests.

Contact us

To discuss your project or find out more about how we can support your business, contact:

Dean Flanagan, Client Relationship Leader
Telephone: 613-990-8319

Targeted industry