Radiant De-Ice Technology

James Wiebe demonstrating the new de-icing technology.

Radiant Technology, the company founded by James Wiebe (former head of BeLite Aircraft), is known for bringing interesting technologies into the experimental world. He’s well known for compact instruments, and has dabbled in inexpensive radios, pioneered some interesting fuel monitoring systems—but his latest exploration is in the world of de-icing for light experimental aircraft.

His system, being developed and demonstrated at the Comp Air booth, and planned for implementation on that aircraft, is based on high power electromechanical actuators that pulse the structure of the leading edge. Using about 500 watts to de-ice a large wing, he is demonstrating the actuator with a thin disk of metal, which is flung upward off the table and hits the inside of the tent roof at Oshkosh at speeds that the eye can’t follow.

Comp Air is designing their wing with a removable leading edge so that the actuators can be mounted and serviced (if required) underneath the metal skin. He uses a high voltage step-up module to change 28 volts to 1000 or more. This charges a capacitor that releases its energy all at once to pulse the skin and break the ice.

The system is expected to be fully integrated and tested in the near future, and we’ll watch it with interest.

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Paul Dye
Paul Dye, KITPLANES® Editor at Large, retired as a Lead Flight Director for NASA’s Human Space Flight program, with 40 years of aerospace experience on everything from Cubs to the Space Shuttle. An avid homebuilder, he began flying and working on airplanes as a teen and has experience with a wide range of construction techniques and materials. He flies an RV-8 and SubSonex jet that he built, an RV-3 that he built with his pilot wife, as well as a Dream Tundra and an electric Xenos motorglider they completed. Currently, they are building an F1 Rocket. A commercially licensed pilot, he has logged over 6000 hours in many different types of aircraft and is an A&P, FAA DAR, EAA Tech Counselor and Flight Advisor; he was formerly a member of the Homebuilder’s Council. He consults and collaborates in aerospace operations and flight-testing projects across the country.


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