Aaron Marshall – Beechcraft Bonanza TKS Testimonial

Aaron Marshall lives in Wisconsin and flies throughout the United States. He owns a 1990 Beechcraft B36TC Bonanza with inadvertent TKS Ice Protection.

Aaron and his father have been flying TKS equipped Bonanzas for over 20 years. He previously owned a 2004 Beechcraft F33 Bonanza and a 1993 Beechcraft Bonanza. His father also owns and flies a Beechcraft B36TC Bonanza with inadvertent TKS Ice Protection.

Aaron Marshall - Beechcraft B36TC Bonanza.jpg

How did you get started in aviation?

My dad is a pilot, and my parents both had a recreational pilot’s license. From the time I was little, I was always flying with them. I started taking lessons in high school. When I got out of college, instead of buying a car I got a 1948 Cessna 170. I bought a North American T-6 Texan and flew that for a while. Then I bought an Arrow and a Bonanza. Now we have two Bonanzas and a Stearman, and I have a T-6 with a friend of mine. I’ve always been into aviation for fun and use it some for business as well.

Why did you choose TKS?

Because of where I live, I wanted to be able to use the airplane year-round and not have to worry about not making a trip or canceling a trip because of inadvertent icing. You don’t want to get into icing if you don’t have any ice protection. If you don’t have ice protection, you end up not using the airplane half the year.

My dad had a 1993 Bonanza with the older TKS stainless steel mesh panels. I flew the plane for about 200 hours and really grew to not be able to live without the TKS. I had a T-6, sold that, bought a Bonanza and immediately had the TKS system installed. Then I sold that about 4 years ago and bought the Bonanza turboprop. Luckily it already had the TKS system, otherwise I would have put it on. I’ve had TKS since the late 90s.

What does TKS do for your mission?

In Wisconsin, I definitely want TKS from late October through early April. I’ve been going back and forth to California and have run into ice in May over the Rockies. Unless it’s June, July or August, around the Sierra Nevada mountains I go around the south. Going through the Sierra Nevada is just not worth it. That area has some really nasty convection with the moisture. Going out West, ice protection is a year-round requirement. You always have the threat of ice. I wouldn’t bother owning a traveling airplane like the Bonanza without TKS.

Aaron Marshall - Beechcraft B36TC Bonanza - Propeller.jpg

Any truly memorable experiences in icing with TKS?

I’ve had enough ice to take antennas off a few times. Other than seeing some ice from the cones of the tip tanks, you don’t realize how much ice you have because the wings, tail and propeller are clean. The TKS works so good that the amount of ice you’re collecting on the unprotected areas can be deceiving. On a Bonanza, everything important is protected. Unless the conditions are really bad, ice doesn’t even accumulate. If ice does accumulate, it quickly turns to slush and flies off. TKS gives a peace of mind, particularly because when you do need to use the system, you can tell it’s working really well.

Additional comments

The STC for my airplane requires a heated propeller. I just got a five-bladed MT which is very nice, but it is not compatible with the slinger ring. I really liked having the slinger ring on the F33 Bonanza because you would hardly ever need to use the windshield spray bar. On the Bonanza I have now, I use it quite often.

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Scott Marshall - Beechcraft B36TC Bonanza.jpg

David H. – Mooney M20R FIKI TKS Testimonial

David H. lives in California and primarily flies within the West Coast. He owns a 2005 Mooney M20R with Flight Into Known Icing (FIKI) certified TKS Ice Protection, which he has flown for 7 years.

Reno & Tahoe - 00008

How did you get started in aviation?

When I was 16, one of my mom’s friends took me up in an airplane and gave me the controls. It was then that I said I’m definitely going to learn to fly. About 10 years later I did.

Why did you choose TKS?

Because I had flown many, many times in conditions where I was grounded for several days on a trip across the country. Other days when I really wanted to go somewhere I couldn’t go. So I decided that if I ever purchase an airplane I’m going to get one with FIKI. That was really the only option for the Mooney Ovation, which is the airplane I decided I wanted.

What does TKS do for your mission?

It enables me to fly on days where I otherwise would not fly. Southern California in particular does not have very extreme weather, but we do have a lot of overcast days in the winter where the freezing level is low. Without FIKI it would be illegal and unsafe to fly through an overcast layer to get up on top and to get to my destination. That’s primarily how I use it. I don’t usually choose to find and fly through the ice. I try to get through layers as quickly as I can and stay out of it. It has enabled me to take more missions than I would have been able to in the past.

Have you had any memorable experiences in icing with TKS?

Yes, I do. As I say, in southern California, because we don’t have a lot of days of ice, the ones that we do have do stand out. I was flying from northern California to southern California, coming back from a film shoot, and we were in and out of fairly moist clouds, ice forming clouds. You could see areas of ice around the landing lights. The wings were almost completely clear of ice with the TKS working. It was pretty impressive, and it’s a great feeling to know things were working well.

Another time, I was going up to northern California again. A lot of aircraft were diverting. People were reporting ice accumulation. I had the TKS on and could definitely see ice on the landing lights, but I was not accumulating any ice on the protected surfaces. I saw a tiny bit on the leading edges that the TKS was easily able to handle. Other people were reporting moderate ice. I would say there was a quarter-of-an-inch, maybe a half an inch of rime ice.

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Ed Haines – Beechcraft A36 Bonanza TKS Testimonial

Ed Haines lives in Michigan and is the previous owner of a 1986 Beechcraft A36 Bonanza equipped with inadvertent TKS Ice Protection, which he flew for over 10 years.

Ed Haines - Beechcraft A36 Bonanza Non

How did you get started in aviation?

I did drilling and oil consulting for a major oil and gas exploration company in Traverse City. They had a Beechcraft Baron, Cessna Conquest, a helicopter, and a 1979 Cessna 172. With one-and-a-half hours of training, they sold the 172 to me for about $16,000 and I started flying lessons.

Why did you choose TKS?

Although boots are an option, I didn’t really see any other option than TKS. I studied the system pretty good and saw the guys on Beechtalk really liked it. I had the TN system installed at Tornado Alley Turbo in Oklahoma and while there decided to have TKS installed right after. The turbo-normalizer and TKS are hand-in-hand systems. If you have a turbo-normalized system and don’t have TKS, you’re wasting your money somewhere.

What does TKS do for your mission?

Traverse City can be gloomy for about 4 months. A lot of the time that’s only in the first 2,000 feet and you’re up in blue sky. But if you don’t have an ice protection system, you’re grounded for a good portion of the year. The TKS system allowed me to take off at nearly any point.

A lot of times I went south where it would be warmer, so you’re not really concerned about ice at the destination. Your enroute time might be ice-free, but getting back in at your destination could mean flying through several thousand feet of potential ice. Many times that’s exactly what happened. But instead of being puckered up while exiting the ice, you’re stress free.

I flew with other pilots that were amazed at how good a job the system performed. We would see ice accumulate on the windscreen, and then it just rots away as the fluid streams across. The ice was trying to build, but the system wouldn’t allow it.

Any truly memorable experiences in icing with TKS?

I flew the Bonanza to Hilton Head, South Carolina one time. This was before I started going to Arizona. The pilot I flew with never had a deicing system but had flown in a couple of Cessna 182RGs. On the way home we had several thousand feet of light to moderate icing coming back into Traverse City. We turned the system on at 7,000 feet, started our descent shortly after, and entered the clouds at around 4,000 feet. Traverse City is around 600 feet sea level. The ceilings were pretty low. I just remember the smile on his face. We saw the ice trying to build on the airplane, and the system kept it clean.

 

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Chris B. – Beechcraft V35B Bonanza TKS Testimonial

Chris B. lives in Toronto, Canada and flies throughout the Great Lakes, Upper Midwest and East Coast. He owns a turbo-normalized 1974 Beechcraft V35B Bonanza and recently had the inadvertent TKS Ice Protection System installed. Chris has also owned a 2005 Cessna T182T equipped with inadvertent TKS Ice Protection, which he flew for 3 years, and a 2006 Mooney M20 Bravo with FIKI certified TKS Ice Protection, which he flew for 6 years.

Chris B - Beechcraft V35B Bonanza - Lincoln Park Aviation

How did you get started in aviation?

My father was a senior engineer at De Havilland Aircraft. I grew up immersed in airplane talk, hanging around and flying in Beavers, Otters, and Twin Otters, and the like. Dad’s influence made aviation a big part of my life and that of my family. In fact my nephew—his grandson—recently graduated from captain on De Havilland Dash-8’s and Q400’s to right seat on a 767 for Air Canada. He and I fly together whenever we can. He always has something to teach his uncle!

What was the TKS installation process like?

I have nothing but good things to say about the entire experience at Lincoln Park Aviation. Frank Galella and his team were straightforward and transparent at every step, on time, accommodating of my schedule, and simply a pleasure to deal with.

The New Jersey location is a little closer to me and easier to get back and forth. Frank was very flexible on the dates and made it work for me. He predicted a finish time that was correct within about 48 hours, which was amazing, considering it was a month-long project. He worked the annual and propeller overhaul into it as well, so there was quite a lot of work to be done.

The TKS system looks like it was integrated from the blueprints and has been on the aircraft forever. The fit and finish is wonderful. There are a couple of tricky spots on the Bonanza which were covered seamlessly. The attention to detail, the touch up paint around the windshield where the spray bar had to be fitted and refinished was beautifully done. The quality of the work done is beyond merely excellent, it is essentially perfect.

Why did you choose TKS?

It was the only ice protection system available for the Cessna 182 and Mooney that I owned. Having flown with the system, I have a lot of comfort in its ability to protect against ice accretion and a variety of different kinds of icing which includes large droplet and runback situations.

The main thing is that it protects the whole airfoil.  For me it’s very reassuring to see the fluid streaming back across the flying surface of the wing, knowing that not just the leading edge but the flying surface is also protected. With boots, you can see leading edge ice building and take steps to address that, but I think where people can get fooled is missing the development of runback icing, which can be just as critical as leading edge icing.  I also like the fact that the combination of the spray from the prop and the windshield spray bar tends to clear the entire windshield. On the 182, the windshield spray only came from the prop. But both the Mooney and Bonanza have dedicated windshield spray bars. Combined with the prop spray, you can clear most of windshield; you’re not looking through a small plate that may not be where you want to look. It changes the visual game a lot. You don’t lose your field of view.

What does TKS do for your mission?

The TKS system has made the mission predictable. Granted, in a single-engine piston aircraft I’m not going to depart into known icing regardless of whether a system is FIKI or not. But known icing is relatively infrequent; having TKS protection has made me comfortable flying in potential icing where, in combination with turbo-charging, I can pick my cruise altitude. With the very large fluid reservoirs in the Mooney and Bonanza, the airplane maintains normal aerodynamic wing and propeller performance to escape icing conditions by climbing or descending. Whereas in an unprotected or non-turbocharged aircraft, the last thing one should try is to out-climb ice. So turbocharging plus TKS makes for a very functional combination, and I don’t often have to cancel trips due to ice.

Have you had any memorable experiences in icing with TKS?

I’ve never been in ice that overwhelmed the system. In a retractable gear airplane, if the TKS system is working, the signs that you’re in icing conditions are more subtle than you might have flying an unprotected wing, a wing with boots where the ice builds between boot cycles, or even in a high wing fixed gear plane where ice visibly accumulates on the gear. The system is so good you just don’t see much; you do see some frosting or a thin layer of slush on the leading edge of the aircraft’s wing, but not much else. I’m also quite liberal with system use and haven’t been put in a position where I’ve had to use it to de-ice. If I’m flying into visible moisture and it is colder than 4 degrees C, I turn the system on. Essentially, I turn it on when I turn on the pitot heat.

Additional comments

My first airplane with the TKS system was a Cessna T182T. It was installed when your company was in Salina, Kansas. Great install. The system was more limited because of the smaller reservoir, the absence of a windshield spray bar, and the inherently lower performance of the 182. But it was an airplane that I didn’t try to use predictably in the winter.

I then got a Mooney Bravo that had FIKI certified TKS (Flight Into Known Icing) installed at delivery of the aircraft, and flew that until about three years ago. I got used to a different level of performance in the Mooney, and to a new level of predictability flying with the FIKI  system. I had many encounters with light ice, and a few with moderate ice over the years, all handled very nicely by the Mooney system.

With the Bonanza I realized that the TKS system wasn’t going to be FIKI but felt that I had enough flexibility with my travel dates and times that I could manage with a robust non-FIKI system. The Bonanza system is about as robust as you can get without being FIKI— a very big 7 gallon reservoir, a separate windshield pump, and in a retractable with an airframe, wing and useful load that’s inherently forgiving.

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George Yundt – TKS Testimonial

George Yundt lives outside of Chicago in the upper Midwest. He has owned two Cirrus SR22s and a Beechcraft A36 Bonanza with TKS Ice Protection. George has also flown in Beechcraft Barons equipped with FIKI certified TKS, and was a corporate pilot in the Hawker 125 during the 1970s.

How did you get started in aviation?

I was 12 years old in Atlanta, Georgia. A neighbor across the street bought a Piper Tri-Pacer known as the flying milk stool. He had a business trip and took me from Atlanta to Birmingham, Alabama to see my grandparents. Ever since then I’ve been hooked. I was the 14-year-old kid who hung on the airport fence and said, “Hey, mister! I’ll wash your airplane if you’ll give me a ride.” That’s how I got my early flying experience—washing and waxing airplanes. By the way, I soloed on my 16th birthday. Private on my 17th. Commercial on my 18th. My certified flight instructor one week later. And I got my airline transport pilot on my 23rd birthday. All of those were minimum age ratings. Next year I will have had a flight instructor’s rating for 50 years.

Why did you choose TKS?

Particularly on an airplane with a well-designed system, TKS works better than anything else, period. It really does a superior job of ice removal and ice formation prevention.

What does TKS do for your mission?

Other than SLD flying when the SIGMET for heavy icing is out, the TKS system has allowed me to operate single and twin engine aircraft and complete the trip confidently and safely.

Have you had any memorable experiences with TKS?

Flying from Chicago to St. Paul I encountered severe icing. Every time I changed frequency, an airline pilot would pipe up and say, “What’s that little guy doing on a day like today?” The fact of the matter is I was in a Flight Into Known Icing (FIKI) airplane, and it did a wonderful job of keeping the plane ice-free. I landed and was really proud of the plane doing as well as it did. The wing and all of the protected surfaces remained completely ice-free. The wing tips had about five inches of ice. From the leading edge to the slinger ring on the prop, TKS kept nearly every square inch of the airplane ice-free. Absolutely amazing.

The icing that day was so much worse than what was forecast. It was a triple inversion. Before takeoff I primed the system and, sure enough, within a minute or two in the clouds the switch was back on. When I’m flying my airplane, or flying somebody else’s, I run the system for a while to make sure it’s primed for the whole length of the wing. I’ll see it oozing out and assume if it’s doing that then the tail surfaces are working good too. Of course you can see it on the windshield with the splatter from the propeller slinger ring. I took it all the way from the surface to 16,000 feet trying to find a place in-between where I could slow down the ice accretion. The TKS system handled everything that Mother Nature threw at it, beautifully and successfully.

How do other ice protection systems compare to TKS?

I can guarantee you that if there was such a thing as pneumatic boots for a Cirrus it wouldn’t have worked for that encounter. I’ve also flown in two Barons with TKS. If they had pneumatic boots that weren’t in good shape, I would question going. I’ve flown a number of airplanes with pneumatic boots where the ice was not fully shed. You had big sections of the wing where the ice was still adhering. Not only was it ugly, it caused a lot of concern.

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Carl Rossi – Columbia 400 + Socata Trinidad TKS Testimonial

Carl Rossi lives in San Diego, California. He primarily flies throughout the West, Pacific Northwest, Upper Midwest and Canada in his 2006 Columbia 400 with inadvertent TKS Ice Protection. Previously, Carl owned and flew a 1990 SOCATA TB-21 Trinidad with inadvertent TKS Ice Protection. He has flown TKS equipped aircraft for over 22 years.

Carl Rossi - Columbia 400

How did you get started in aviation?

When I was a little kid, I would watch airplanes takeoff and land at the airport. That’s the way most of us got started.

Why did you choose TKS?

For the TB-21, I was looking for some type of icing solution. The airplane actually came with a TKS prop. That’s how SOCATA shipped the aircraft. I read about the various icing solutions that were available and wasn’t too thrilled with the idea of putting boots on the plane. So I contacted AS&T [now CAV Ice Protection]. It was the first installation your company had done on a TB-21. Getting ahead of myself, I was very happy with the TKS system.

As far as the Columbia goes, that experience was a little bit different. The aircraft was ordered with EVADE, which was the trade name for the Kelly Aerospace electric system for knocking off the ice. That system had some issues with development to the point that when the aircraft was delivered in 2007, it did not have any anti-icing equipment on it at all. Columbia said they were going to hold off on installing the Kelly Aerospace system until some of the problems were worked out.

Over the next several months, the updates went from holding off on shipping the system until the bugs were worked out to giving a choice of either having the system when they got it working or have TKS installed. From hearing a lot about the electric system, it seemed like it was one problem after another. Since I was already familiar with TKS, I chose to have the TKS system installed. Unfortunately, the installation was delayed because that was right about the time when Columbia was going Chapter 11. Cessna installed the TKS kit on the airplane once that was resolved.

What does TKS do for your mission?

It gives me more peace of mind that if conditions aren’t as forecast, I have something I can do about it. It’s a very useful system. Does it increase the utility of the plane? Absolutely. The next step for me would be to go with a FIKI certified TKS system.

Any truly memorable experiences in icing?

I had one particular experience in the Trinidad. This was Labor Day weekend, September 1995. I was departing Bozeman and flying to California. It was a typical summer day in the northern Rockies. There was no forecast for icing, no AIRMETs or anything. I ended up getting into some orographically lifted clouds to the southwest of the airport. At 18,000 feet the plane started picking up ice, which in retrospect was probably SLD. I did two things; turned the system on and asked for a climb. It was extremely satisfying to see the ice build up—which in the span of a minute was ½ to ¾ of an inch—and slide off the wings as the fluid began to come out. It did what it needed to do. That was extremely gratifying.

There have been a number of occasions over the years where I would be on a route where the MEA was relatively high for a short time, and other aircraft that are operating in the same area, also IFR, complain about ice and want to go lower. They are then told they can’t because they’re at MEA, and that’s the best you’re going to get. You hear their stress level rise as they’re trying to get through it. I look out the window and think, big deal, right? The system is working just fine, and I’m a lot more comfortable, a lot more relaxed than I would be if I was stressing over not having any system on the plane at all.

How do other ice protection systems compare to TKS?

In-between the Trinidad and the Columbia, one of the planes I had was a Malibu Mirage, which is another fantastic airplane. But my subjective impression was that the boot system on that aircraft did not work as well keeping ice off the airframe as the TKS system did on the Trinidad.

Whenever I would fire the boots, it always sounded like an old-style player piano with the hissing and the noise. The vacuum pumps were relatively expensive items to replace when they rolled over and died, which wasn’t that unusual. There was an occasion when the boots on the horizontal stabilizer were not working. A pneumatic fitting failed, even though everything annunciated back in the cockpit. The problem wasn’t discovered for a few months.

I like the simplicity of TKS. That’s certainly a virtue in airplanes, to keep things simple. As I mentioned earlier, it seemed to do a better job in keeping the airframe clear than the boots. You don’t have concerns about runback ice like you do with boots. However, it is a consumable. You have to be aware of that, especially when you’re traveling.

Additional comments

Virtually every manufacturer in the GA market that has gone FIKI (Flight Into Known Icing) has used TKS Ice Protection. The SR22, TTx, DA42, DA62, Quest, the Caravans, etc. They haven’t used EVADE and they haven’t used boots. So what does that tell you? It’s a simple system that works. It doesn’t get much simpler than having a pump in the line and everything else being pretty passive. Certainly you can get leaks in the fittings and whatever, but the reality is that it’s a lot less complex than its competitors. The only part I have had to order in ten years is a replacement filter.

Having TKS doesn’t make you bulletproof by any stretch of the imagination, though it does certainly add utility, and it’s one less thing you have to be quite as concerned about.

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Paul Johnson – Beechcraft A36 Bonanza TKS Testimonial

Paul Johnson lives in Wisconsin and flies throughout the Upper Midwest, Northwest and Southeast regions. He owns a 1973 Beechcraft A36 Bonanza equipped with inadvertent TKS Ice Protection, which he has been flying for over 7 years.

Paul J Beechcraft Bonanza A36 NoN

How did you get started in aviation?

In 1978, I obtained my private license in Virginia. Currently I have commercial multi-instrument with seaplane and glider/motorglider ratings.

Why did you choose TKS?

Living in Wisconsin, icing is common at least six months a year. I have always tried to err on the side of safety to avoid getting into an inadvertent icing situation without a backup plan. TKS has provided that backup plan on several occasions, including one memorable flight to Milwaukee in February that resulted in preventing ice buildup on all treated surfaces, while more than a quarter-inch accumulated during the approach on untreated surfaces.

What does TKS do for your mission?

It only takes one experience to realize the potential lifesaving benefits of having TKS onboard at all times.

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Roger Florkiewicz – Cessna 206 TKS Testimonial

Roger Florkiewicz lives in the northwest Indiana and primarily flies throughout the Midwest, Upper Midwest and East Coast. He owns a 2011 Cessna T206H equipped with inadvertent TKS Ice Protection, which he has been flying for over 9 years.

Roger F Cessna 206 001 NoN


How did you get started in aviation?

I have been flying since 1992 and got my instrument rating in 1994. Flying for business is my primary use of the pilot certificate, other than flying to Oshkosh every year.

My first flight was at seven years old flying to Eagle River, Wisconsin for vacation. My dad got hurt at work and asked his friend Charles, who owned a Cessna 182, to take me and my older brother up to my uncle’s cabin so we wouldn’t miss our vacation. My mom, dad and younger brother ended up driving a couple of days later after they heard how excited we were to be there, and how amazing it was that our flight cut six hours off the normal eight hour-long drive. I was hooked ever since that flight. Once I built my house and saved some money, I got it done.

Why did you choose TKS?

My wife and I wanted to better take care of my daughter who receives outpatient treatment at the National Institute of Health in Maryland. We saw the TKS system at Oshkosh and thought, not only does it make sense that we can make more promises to customers and have specific dates, I would also have the ability to save the wear and tear of commercial flights on my wife and daughter from the personal side. We really had both aspects of it together.

What does TKS do for your mission?

We use it every time we fly in the winter, always on deice mode. Once I get into the clouds I would turn on the anti-ice, but I’ve seen ice build so quickly. With a 7.5 gallon tank, I know that I have a good hour-and-a-half of fluid. So if I’m building up any ice, I will turn my pitot heat on and turn on the deice mode. I don’t mind going through an extra 10 or 20 gallons per year if I need to. I want that belt and suspenders, the rubber safety mat and all the extra things I can get.

In deice mode, you can see the fluid flowing like a shower head and draining back on the wing panels. The prop slinger works great and covers most of the fuselage. Only on a few occasions have I ever used the windshield spray bar. That was generally to blow off a bit of the atomized spray the glycol seems to want to keep in perfectly small droplets. Sometimes I’ll turn the spray bar on to get the streaks again so I can see a little more clearly for landing.

We’ve come to the conclusion that there is no way we would ever buy another plane without deice capability. There’s no doubt in my mind that the planes I’ve flown with boots versus TKS, the TKS is far superior in every shape and form.

There are times that we’ve carried the trade for fuel and the trade for passengers. Now we also trade off passengers for the TKS. There’s times where I’ll tell people now, “Sorry, four people.” My colleagues will have two 30-pound laptop bags. We will fly with three people and the two laptop bags or four people and no laptops, because I’ve got the 120 or so pounds of safety in the back. With the nose heaviness of the 206, having that extra weight in the tail works out well. It makes a much better angle of approach for that greased in landing.

Having TKS gives me the feeling that inadvertent icing is not going to be an impossible thing to get through. There are days where I still say, “Nope. It’s not going to be any better.” But I knew what I could carry before from an ice standpoint. Having extra horsepower from the turbo in front of me with the 206 always gives a good feeling. I know I have an exit plan if I run into things, which is to get down, get between layers or get up above it.

Additional comments

In my head, I always thought that TKS would involve major surgery. You buy TKS with a new plane, you don’t add it later. The big realization was that when I came over and actually saw the construction of the panels, saw the cross-sections and how it was done, there wasn’t a cutaway of my entire leading edge. You find out that the panels are basically glued on with a PRC bead. Then we got more into the details, for example, how you adjust flow controls. With TKS it’s already done–balanced and set up, and you’re turning on a switch.

The simplicity of the system is what really struck me as one of the greatest things. You don’t have that fear of the ice. And you also don’t have that fear of “Am I doing something wrong? How complex can it be?” If I’m flying IFR and I’m in icing, trying to find the closest airport to get out of it, I don’t want a bunch of Wizard of Oz levers and knobs turning and flowing. It just needs to be there. Thankfully, it is that easy. It just works.

The cost of the system looks like a scary investment compared to the glitz and glamor of new flat panel displays, traffic monitoring, weather reporting or those type of things. But the utility that you get with TKS as far as an investment gives you such peace of mind.

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Ken L. – Beechcraft G36 Bonanza FIKI TKS Testimonial

Ken L. lived in Rochester, New York and now lives in Florida. Before moving in 2015, he primarily flew throughout the Great Lakes, Upper Midwest, East Coast and Canada. Ken owns a 2007 Beechcraft G36 Bonanza equipped with a Flight Into Known Icing (FIKI) TKS Ice Protection System, which he operated in the northern United States for 4 years. The airplane is the first G36 that was FIKI certified.

Ken L Beechcraft G36 Bonanza FIKI NoN

How did you get started in aviation?

I started at an engineering college. They had an aviation ground school. That sounded like an interesting use of an elective that I had. In college I got my license and flew for a couple of years. There was a 20-year gap before I started flying again. In addition to personal trips, I use my airplane for business purposes.

Why did you choose TKS?

I wanted known ice certification. TKS was really the only readily available option for the Bonanza. The certification process was being talked about, so that was an easy path. Beyond it being the easy route, I was aware of some of the aspects of boots–the pros and cons associated with them. One of the things that always stuck with me was the TKS system. The spray off the propeller washes back over the windshield. It helps clean off the antennas as well. I don’t know about you, but if you’re flying along in IMC and you’ve got ice, now all of a sudden you’ve got something going on with your antennas, which affects your ability to communicate. That’s just making a bad situation even worse.

What does TKS do for your mission?

Expanded the portion of the year when I could use the aircraft. Around the same time, I also installed an engine block heater. Between the engine block heater and the TKS, it opened up the ability to plan and schedule flights for the winter, spring and fall in the northern United States. I don’t have exact numbers on utilization, but if you looked at some kind of time expansion of utilization, maybe 20-25%.

Any memorable experiences in icing with TKS? 

I do remember one flight where I had to choose between going higher or get out of the clouds but pick up tremendous headwinds, or stay in the clouds with some light icing. I didn’t think the icing condition was a danger. Of course you don’t want it to build up. So I ran the TKS system on low for an hour or so. In that case, in allowed me to stay at lower altitude where winds were more favorable.

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Scott Dennstaedt – TKS Testimonial

Scott Dennstaedt Cirrus SR22 NH TKS

Scott Dennstaedt lives in North Carolina. He has touched down in every single state, with the exception of Alaska and North Dakota. Scott is a Certified Flight Instructor – Instrument (CFII), former NWS research meteorologist and founder of AvWxWorkshops Inc. He previously co-owned a 2003 Cirrus SR22 equipped with inadvertent TKS Ice Protection, which he flew for 1 year.TKS for the Cirrus SR22 is now only available as a factory-installed FIKI certified option.

How did you get started in aviation?

I went to school to become a meteorologist, specifically in research area. I got my bachelor’s and master’s degree. Right after getting my bachelor’s I worked in the field of meteorology for about 5 years. I always wanted to fly, so I got into software engineering for 15 years working on airport radar systems, air traffic control systems, and weather radar systems. In the mid-90s I wanted something challenging in my life. I got my PPL, instrument rating and became a co-owner of a turbo Arrow 4, got my commercial. My instructor recommended getting a CFI even though I had no plans to teach. But it would keep me in an airplane with a CFI as I continued to gain more flying experience. So I got my CFI and then CFII to become an instructor. During that time, I realized weather education was a joke from an aviation standpoint. Only the minimum was given to understand weather situations. At that time, the Internet was just blossoming. The FAA was about 10-15 years behind the power curve of all this new weather guidance that’s available on the Internet that helps you make good decisions. That’s when I left my job at Northrop Grumman and became a full-time flight instructor. Successful businessmen and businesswomen making long cross-country trips needed the additional weather training. 15 years later, here we are now. I’m currently working on my PhD.

Why did you choose TKS?

I am a flight instructor. My customers know my background as an aviation weather expert. They want to learn how to fly their airplanes the way that makes the most sense from a safety and efficiency standpoint, given the meteorological situations they are faced with. Usually it’s an icing situation.

The most important thing in general is the ability to have greater dispatch capabilities. It’s unreasonable in some cases to buy an airplane and only fly it in the summertime because there is typically no icing issues. I want to fly from Point A to Point B and have more dispatch authority because I have an aircraft that is able to deal with some limited impact exposure or some limited airframe ice. I think that’s the biggest thing. The other aspect is that it really handles the worst case icing scenario whereas other aircraft might have an accident or incident or loss of control. TKS really keeps the aircraft clean even in the worst icing scenario. I would never recommend anyone to fly in freezing rain or freezing drizzle on purpose. But if you ran into that in an isolated fashion, or you were in a convective scenario where, again, large drops are commonly found, that would be another reason to have TKS over others.

What has TKS done for your mission?

I do more than “let’s get in and go see what happens.” My training starts at preparation—meaning I teach them how to utilize different weather guidance that is available. We characterize the scenario, whether a small drop or large drop icing scenario, lots of liquid water content, layered approach. The real goal is to teach them that. The goal is to say “Okay, this is a safe environment. We’re not dealing with a large drop situation outside of the certified envelope of the airplane. As a result, we can make this plan and go here. We’ve been able to, for the most part, as long as the plan is viable given the altitude requirements and oxygen requirements, to get on top or in-between layers, then we execute it. TKS helps us fly just about every mission we wanted to. We did cancel some flights because the airplane wasn’t certified to fly in those conditions.

The real advantage of TKS is that it protects the entire wing if it’s used within the limitations of the manufacturer. It will help protect runback ice which booted aircraft do not. Once ice starts to collect behind boots, behind protected surfaces, it cannot be moved. Only when you get to warmer temperatures will it be removed. TKS really helps solve that issue. The worst icing scenarios you’ll ever get are typically clear ice scenarios—freezing drizzle and freezing rain. Whether it’s inadvertent or a certified system, TKS helps prevent accumulation in the worst scenarios which are large droplet icing scenarios. Again, you’re not certified to fly in those. But if you inadvertently ran into the situation, I would rather be in an aircraft equipped with TKS than boots. The system is pretty outstanding. I’ve trained thousands of pilots throughout the years and because of my background and expertise, I’ve received spine-chilling phone calls and emails, knowing that they made some really bad decisions. For some, they had an inadvertent system that helped them escape it. In other cases, they got lucky that the airframe still was able to fly and they didn’t hurt themselves. A lot of these were cases that could have been prevented in pre-flight.

My website avwxworkshops.com is used as a training component, and also has a lot of high temporal and spatial resolution icing guidance available to them. It allows them to clearly see where the worst icing is located along the route, the altitude and the time. Based on that information, they can make really good, educated decisions. It’s not just a matter of looking at a chart and saying “Okay, this is good” but about understanding the big picture. My challenge is to be able to teach pilots how to recognize those situations, to know whether they can challenge the weather and know when they should remain on the ground, which ultimately makes them a better, safer and more confident pilot.

How has the system worked inflight when you’ve activated it?

It’s worked, for the most part, flawlessly. I’ve never had any issues with any of the situations that have occurred that would normally be problematic for other aircraft. I haven’t done a lot of flying in aircraft with boots, so I don’t really have a lot of comparison there. What I’ve seen so far is that it represents a great way to keep ice off the leading edges of the airframe for sure. Certainly it has been stellar at keeping ice off the prop and windscreen. It has been pretty exceptional at removing ice that has already accreted. One of the things I would do with my customer is say we’re going through a thin layer, not very threatening. We’re going to pick up some ice, but we’re not going to use the TKS system until we accrete some amount of ice. Usually it’s a very light icing scenario. As you turn the system on, TKS breaks down the bonds and removes the ice pretty effectively. Obviously that’s not the best way to use the TKS system, but it is effective. One of the questions I always get from all of my students is if it’s just an anti-ice solution. Will it remove ice? A lot of my customers have been told it will not remove ice. Of course that’s not the best approach, but it does a very effective job at removing ice from the airframe in the event that you don’t have it primed and turned on initially.

What are the steps you take to activate anti-ice?

The first thing we do is test the system on the ground to make sure it’s primed and working properly. I always emphasize to all of my students that you do that once a month, even in the summertime. Once we’ve identified on the ground that it’s usable—that there are no issues and it’s flowing evenly throughout the entire TKS panels—then it’s a matter of looking at the situation. If we’re not expecting to get ice until we are 300 miles downwind, I’m not going to turn it on until we reach conditions that could warrant having the system on. The best approach is to save as much TKS. If I know that we are going to encounter icing right away, it will be turned on as soon as we take the runway to depart. If it’s not going to be until we climb out and reach our cruising altitude, then we’ll turn it on in the climb. If we are looking at possibly running into icing 100 miles down the route, then we will effectively manage the weather. Are we in IMC? No. Are we in precipitation? No. There’s no reason to have the system on even if the temperature is below freezing. We may have pitot heat on and such. As soon as we get to a situation where we’re either in IMC, visible moisture, precipitation, and the temperatures are zero degrees or less, then we will turn the system on before we enter those IMC conditions.

If you know that there is likely going to be icing but it’s not forecast, is it still OK to fly with an inadvertent system?

That goes back to what is the legal definition of icing conditions. If you have an aircraft that doesn’t have a certified ice protection system, it’s typically considered a zero tolerance situation, even with inadvertent. This is where the training component comes into play. If you know, for instance, that only 80% of the positive pilot reports get captured in an AIRMET or SIGMET, then there’s 20% that don’t get forecast. That means there are icing situations out there that aren’t being forecast. 20% is a heck of a lot. That’s actually a legitimate number too, because AIRMETs don’t capture convective icing. If you’re dealing with a tall, building cumulus field of clouds, and you’re in the tops of those clouds below freezing, you’re going to pick up some airframe ice. There will be no forecast for that. There are also cases where AIRMETs are for widespread moderate icing. If forecasters don’t believe it’s going to be widespread moderate, only light, maybe occasional moderate, they may not include that particular area in the forecast. When it comes down to it, there are many variables that suggest there could be legitimate icing out there—icing that doesn’t fit. It’s not like the forecaster blew the forecast. This is where I spend a lot of time training pilots about icing, how to use the various products to their benefit and to understand their limitations.

I was ferrying a turbonormalized Cirrus SR22 with inadvertent TKS from Richmond, Virginia to Terre Haute, Indiana in July. In West Virginia I flew through some really nasty, building cumulus clouds. They were difficult to avoid. It just about turned me upside down. When I got over Kentucky, I saw another bank of cumulus clouds. I said that I wasn’t going to do the same thing, because the SR22 could get me up to 25,000 feet. I made sure the oxygen was flowing and asked ATC for clearance to 16,000 feet. Of course, as luck would have it they said you can ask the next controller. The next controller said they can give me that clearance in 5 minutes. As I got closer and closer to that bank of cumulus clouds, I realized that even in the best of airplanes it’s going to be difficult to outclimb it. I should have stayed at that altitude and suffered what turbulence I would get. Unfortunately, I chose the wrong decision. I started to climb and from 8,000 feet going up to 13,000 feet it started to collect ice pretty quickly. There’s a lot of runback in that particular situation. At that point I pointed the nose over and was able to tell ATC I couldn’t go any higher. I turned the TKS system on before entering the clouds and noticed it cleared a lot of the runback ice, in addition to clearing ice off the leading edge, pretty effectively. In that case it was an inadvertent situation, not forecast. I’m not proud of it, but that’s the way it ended up being. There are cases where flying through a thin layer of subfreezing clouds where you only expect trace icing, or in a very cold scenario is that you don’t expect liquid water to collect on the airframe, and that’s usually a cold scenario where the clouds are glaciated, meaning all ice crystals. That’s the only time I would climb through or get into visible moisture using an inadvertent system.

When I was a co-owner of a Cirrus SR22 with inadvertent TKS, I did a lot of traveling from Baltimore to Chicago. That’s the Great Lakes Effect. Usually with Great Lakes Effect kind of clouds, at 12,000 feet you can get to the top of most of that. You’re above the clouds, there’s clear air and no real concern. But let’s say your oil temperature or oil pressure says something is wrong. You look at your PFD and it suggests that something is terribly wrong. It could be a sensor, or it could be that something is really happening. Then you have to work your way down through this potential icing layer. It could be some serious ice. In that case, having an inadvertent system is a perfect example of where that protects you. You turn the system on and do what you need to do to handle the emergency, because when the aircraft no longer works properly it’s unairworthy and you’ve got to land as soon as practicable. You use the TKS to safely get on the ground. This situation is one of the best points to having inadvertent TKS.

My goal is always to teach students that they don’t belong in ice unless they have proper equipment. Even if you have proper equipment, you don’t belong in ice you’re not certified to fly in. These are tools that can be used in certain situations. All of them can malfunction. I hear a lot of stories from pilots who have one boot inflate and the other doesn’t. Systems can shut down and put you in a bad situation. Avoiding ice is my general message.

Hope is not a plan. We can’t use previous experiences as future decisions. For example, a pilot could think, “I was able to get through that 3,000 foot stratocumulus deck with no problem. This one is going to be a piece of cake, I’ve done it dozens of times before. I don’t have any certified ice protection system, but I’ve done it before and it’s always worked out fine.” But there’s some issue they didn’t catch that was worse than the other. They fly through one on Wednesday and on Friday fly through another one. They pick up so much ice, a large drop scenario, and they look at themselves thinking what the heck is different? Well it turned out that on Thursday, between the two days, it snowed. It laid a blanket of snow down. Snow keeps clouds above clean. Cleaner clouds typically have larger drops. Add mountains or some orographic effects and you can put yourself into a situation where you are in a large drop scenario with higher liquid water contents. All of those kinds of things need to be understood. You need to know the difference between a clean environment and a dirty environment makes in terms of icing potential. Once you’ve learned those little nuggets of information, you don’t use hope as a plan. You’re making solid decisions.