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Exploring Realistic Snow Simulation for Aircraft Safety

SnoWing aims at exploring a breakthrough technology to generate artificial snow with the same properties as found in nature, i.e. nature-equivalent snow.

Nowadays, all-weather aircraft airworthiness certification requires flight tests in hazardous natural snowstorms since all artificial snow generated with the currently available methods (e.g. snow cannons, lances, ice shaving) has very different physical characteristics and is therefore not acceptable for airworthiness certification. Beside the intrinsic risk of such tests, they are difficult to schedule due to the rarity of natural events conforming to the require-ments. This generates significant delays in certification and slows down product and de-icing system development, which in turn raises cost.

Therefore, the aircraft industry is facing increasing needs for snow testing in reliable and re-producible conditions (e.g. icing wind tunnels, IWT) and for validated numerical tools to sup-port product development and certification. This affects all civil aircraft categories (CS-23/25/27/29) but is also indispensable for exploiting the future market of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) which are especially vulnerable to weather phenomena.

SnoWing explores a potential key technology to enable experimental snow testing in an IWT: a cloud chamber capable of generating artificial snow with the same properties as found in nature suitable for aeronautic testing applications. The cloud chamber has the potential of generating not simply “artificial snow”, but nature-equivalent snow since it tries to reproduce the natural growth of ice crystals into large snowflakes.



  • SNOWING – Exploring Realistic Snow Simulation for Aircraft Safety
  • Programme: FFG Take Off 2017
  • Funding agency: FFG
  • Duration of project: 07/2018 – 12/2019
  • Projectcoordination: AIT Austrian Institute of Technology GmbH, www.ait.ac.at


Project partners

  • Joanneum Forschungsgesellschaft GmbH
  • Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich
  • Airbus Helicopters S.A.S