June 2007 Issue

Cockpit/Cabin Coolers: Do They Really Work?

Yesóto a point. But they arenít air conditioners. Our trials showed that Arctic Airís models edged out Swampy in overall performance.

There are three reasons why more airplanes donít have air conditioning: Itís expensive, itís heavy and saps payload and no matter how hot it is, you usually donít need it above 5000 feet. So most owners just go without and swelter through the hot months. As an alternative to sweat and bear it, a cottage industry has sprung up offering portable coolers for the cockpit which circulate air through block or crushed ice stored in a modified picnic cooler. Weíve seen these products at trade shows and on the Web and our reaction is always some version of this: They canít possibly work, can they? Actually, they do work and although not practical for all owners, they offer a limited alternative to the cockpit steam bath

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