August 2, 2009 - Oshkosh, Wisconsin
- It could be the product with the ultimate “cool factor” at
AirVenture: anti-icing equipment.
General aviation systems today go beyond
rubber pneumatic boots, including fluid- and thermal-based solutions.
And pilots may need this equipment more than
No matter how much you say you’re not going
to get into ice, unless you’re not planning on flying from October to
April, you can pick up ice,” said Red Berry, sales manager of TKS, for
CAV Aerospace of Salina, Kansas, manufacturer of the TKS anti-icing
TKS is a “weeping wing” system that pumps
de-icing fluid through the porous, laser-drilled holes in titanium panels
adorning the leading edges of the wings, empennage, and at the base of the
windshield. The panels sport about 800 laser-drilled holes per square
At the first hint of icing conditions, pilots
engage the system, and the fluid seeps through the pores to prevent ice
accumulation. Several companies make the fluid, which will not harm paint
or metal. A full TKS system can operate for one to three hours, depending
on the installation and the flow setting. A fully loaded TKS system weighs
between 80 and 100 pounds.
TKS is available as a factory option on
aircraft including Mooneys, Bonanzas, Cirruses, Cessna Caravans, and
Diamond DA42s, where it may enable the aircraft to be certified for flight
into known icing (FIKI) conditions as it is on Cirrus and Mooney models.
(Even the Predator is equipped with TKS, according to Berry.) As an
aftermarket installation, TKS is certified only for hazard prevention, but
that can still be a lifesaver.
All aftermarket installations are performed at
the company’s Salina facility. Costs for aftermarket installation range
from $27,600 for a Cessna 182 to $42,300 for a Beechcraft Bonanza.
Installation takes about three weeks. (www.WeepingWings.com).
Kelly Aerospace of Montgomery, Alabama, offers
ThermaWing, a thermal anti-icing system. An outgrowth of NASA research,
ThermaWing uses lightweight electrically conductive foil on the leading
edges of wings and empennage. When engaged the foil heats to shed ice and
Just prior to AirVenture, Kelly received an
STC (supplemental type certificate) for retrofit installations on aircraft
equipped with TKS anti-ice systems, said Jeremy Heidinger, director of
maintenance and new product installation at Kelly Aerospace. The system is
also certified for hazard prevention for factory installation on Cessna
Corvalis 300, 350, and 400 models, and Heidinger says eventually these
installations will be approved for FIKI.
“It’s simply a matter of time and money,”
Heidinger said of FIKI approval.
Retrofit on the Corvalis is $27,500 and
requires 10 business days. (http://KellyAerospace.com).
The thermal anti-icing system is also
available through RDD Enterprises for Lancair ES, Legacy, Lancair IV, and
propjet experimental aircraft under the name Therm-X (www.RDDent.com).
As pilots seek ways to make their aircraft as
mission capable as possible, the anti-icing market is sure to heat up