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A Novel Solution for Aircraft Washing and De-Icing

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - Runway-Star (A Novel Solution for Aircraft Washing and De-Icing)

Reporting period: 2017-03-01 to 2018-02-28

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 1, the overall system functional requirements were developed based on specifications from the largest ground handler in Scandinavia and input received form our aviation network. The design and calculation of the hangar, including steel trusses, test jig and steel parts were carried out, in addition to the design of mechanical parts for the telescope arms and hollow sections. The automation system and software which will operate the RS500 system, is in process by Siemens.
The build of the hangar began including preparation of the foundations, formwork and reinforcement, including laying of storage tanks and fluid pipes into the ground. The building also included assembly of supporting legs, roof trusses, canvas, roof and minor parts required for the hangar.
Assembly of the test jig was also completed, which has enabled testing of a telescope arm to take place, following which fabrication of the mechanical parts for the arms and hollow sections took place and then assembled on the test jig for further testing, from which design changes were made to further optimise the system. A Mototok electrical push back tractor was selected as the tool that will move the airplane through the hangar.
The project has also successfully purchased a B737 test aircraft which landed at Skien Airport Geiteryggen in January 2018 which will be used to test the mechanical and functional capabilities of the hangar.
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.
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