Boeing Technology Services - Aerodynamics

Boeing Research Aero-Icing Tunnel

The Boeing Research Aero-Icing Tunnel (BRAIT), allows Boeing aerodynamics testing staff to create ice shapes and test de-icing systems on the ground, rather than in flight. This facility saves customers significant time and resources over actual in-flight testing, as it did during the Boeing 777 development and certification program.

Boeing Research Aero-Icing Tunnel (BRAIT). Click for larger version.
Boeing Research Aero-Icing Tunnel (BRAIT). (Click image for larger view.)

The BRAIT facility simulates natural cloud conditions during flight.

  • Test section: 4 by 6 ft
  • Sidewall mountings
  • Heated auxiliary air
  • Speed range: up to 250 knots (290 mph)
  • Minimum uniform c loud size: 3 by 4 ft
  • Temperature range: -25° to 50°F
  • Median droplet size: 15 to 40 microns
  • Liquid water content: .25 to 2.5 grams/cubic meter
  • Uniform temperature distribution: ±1.0°F
  • Velocity variation from mean: <±1°%
  • Test Section Turbulence level: < 0.5%


The BRAIT facility is equipped with a spray bar system which generates super-cooled droplets upstream of the test section, in order to create cloud simulations in the test section that meet FAA testing requirements.

To create icing conditions, water is sent through this tower of spraybars and injected into the chilled tunnel airstream. There it forms a moisture cloud that freezes on contact with model surfaces.

Another main component of the icing tunnel is an efficient heat exchanger that maintains temperature uniformity to -25° F in the test section airflow.


The primary test section, measuring 4 by 6 feet, is uniquely suited for ice accretion tests on full scale leading edge wing sections and allows for higher air speeds. This test section has slotted side walls and a turntable mounting assembly at each wall to allow horizontal mounting of the model and pitching capability.

The test section is specially configured and illuminated to enable extensive visual investigations in either the icing or the aerodynamics mode, and heated auxiliary air is also available to the test section and test article.

Ice shape molds can be made from ice formations built up on the test articles. Performance and calibrations under icing conditions, anti/de-icing system effectiveness can also be determined.

Test Articles

Some examples of articles that can be tested in the BRAIT facility include:

  • aircraft component sections
  • rotor blade sections
  • engine inlets
  • probes

To join the many companies using testing resources available at The Boeing Company, contact the Boeing Technology Services Marketing Manager at 206-662-1478, request a quote online, or e-mail us for more information about our test capabilities.