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A Novel Solution for Aircraft Washing and De-Icing

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - Runway-Star (A Novel Solution for Aircraft Washing and De-Icing)

Reporting period: 2018-03-01 to 2019-02-28

The Runway-Star RS-500 will be the world’s first automated system for de-icing and washing aircraft.
The overall objective of the Runway-Star project is to build and demonstrate a full-scale aircraft washing and de-icing facility RS-500. The developed system will be a ‘green’, predictable and cost-effective way to wash and de-ice aircraft, in addition to being fast, safe and improving airport efficiency.
Enclosed within a hangar, the system will ensure that de-icing fluid concentration is optimised for the current air temperature wind-borne fluid losses will be virtually eliminated significantly reducing the contamination of ground water, in addition to providing further benefits by recovering up to 95% of waste fluids for recycling. The system will also deliver environmental benefits such as clean aircraft burn less fuel and RS500 will be able to achieve de-icing with significantly less use of glycol.

The Runway-Star system will be able to be programmed specifically for an aircraft type, which will optimise application, reduce fluid use, eliminate potential human error, in addition to eliminating the normal risks associated with aircraft damage from trucks.

In this commercial system, it is intended that thermal cameras will enhance safety assessment, with the advantages of this approach have already been confirmed by potential commercial customers such as Boeing.
The overall objective of Runway-Star is to build and demonstrate a full-scale aircraft washing/de-icing facility RS-500 that will be a ‘green’, predictable, fast, safe and cost-effective way to wash and de-ice aircraft and improve airport efficiency.

During Period 2, the development of the design of the mechanical system has taken place in parallel with the assembly of the vertical lifting pillars, the horizontal bars and the flush boards.
In addition to the development of the design of the mechanical system and the assembly of the vertical lifting pillars, the development and assembly of the fluid system has been carried out including the assembly of the pumps and storage containers were assembled in the technical rooms. A separate system for application of compressed air has also been installed as part of the work.
In order to make RS-500 autonomous, work was carried out on the development and installation of the required electrical systems, with the main electrical cabinet being located in technical room # and further sub-cabinets being located on each travers and horizontal bars.

A major development that has taken place during Period 2 is the first official demonstration of the autonomous airframe wash which took place on 15th September 2018 to potential customers and officials, this has since been followed by further demonstrations of washing and de-icing of our test airframe to further potential customers.
The main innovation of Runway-Star is the RS-500 system that will be a ‘green’, predictable, way to wash and de-ice aircraft. The system will provide a cost effective, year-round washing service providing fuel savings and benefit the associated environment through the elimination of wind-borne losses of de-icing fluids which result in ground water contamination and recycle up to 95% of recovered waste fluids from the process.
The savings made on time through the efficiency of the system will provide major benefits to airports particularly at times of peak demand by minimizing the disruption that can be associated with flight handling. In addition to which the system can also be utilised in both hot and cold climates.
Airport owners for the installation price of €10m, will have a system that will improve handling efficiency of aircraft at busy periods and the availability of washing facilities will also make the airport more attractive to airline operators.
For airline operators, the ability to increase washing frequency independently of servicing schedules is highly attractive, delivering both corporate image benefits, reduced fuel consumption and lower washing costs of €1,500 vs. €2,000-3,500k.
For ground handlers the system will optimise application, eliminate human error and improve safety, in addition to creating new revenue generating opportunities for operation and management of the RS-500 facilities. Further benefits will be full audit trails, consistency and compliance with current legislation.
RS-500 provides a sound basis for industry adoption, providing a lower cost service to airlines, which is crucial in the increasingly competitive airport market.