Over the last few weeks, members of Dowty’s Engineering and Development Test teams – Keith Mason, Marcus Knight, Rob Simpson, Alex Jeliazkov & Nick Bown – travelled to Rail Tec Arsenal (RTA) in Vienna, Austria, to conduct the first propeller ice shedding test for the PrISM (Propeller Ice Shed Measurement) project.

Using the Dowty test propeller coupled to the upgraded RTA rig, PrISM’s lead partner AeroTex GmbH alongside the Austrian Institute of Icing Sciences (AIIS), Dowty and RTA successfully accreted ice representative of an operational environment and activated the de-icing system to shed the built-up ice. The shed event characteristics were captured using novel measurement systems under development as part of the project, including live tracking of the ice particles via vision systems and high-speed cameras, as well as the measurement of kinetic energy of the ice upon impact.

“Currently there is a lack of data on propeller icing and how it is shed,” explains Nick Bown, senior engineer at Dowty, “but this first PrISM test has provided a wealth of new data which initial inspections suggest will provide a significant contribution to our understanding of propeller icing. We look forward to continuing to work with the consortium partners towards a second trial and completion of the project at the end of 2024.”


PrISM is a two-year project which aims to validate ice shedding simulation with physical testing and novel measurement techniques. Lead partner AeroTex GmbH are supporting icing simulation technique development along with validation via ice tunnel testing, RTA are providing use of their ice tunnel facility, the Austrian Institute of Icing Sciences are aiding in novel measurement techniques and data capture and Dowty are supplying test articles, de-icing mechanisms and simulation input data. The project received funding from the Federal Ministry of Austria for Climate Action, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation and Technology (BMK) as part of the Austrian Aeronautics Programme TAKE OFF via the Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG).