April 2009 Issue
Cirrus’s New TKS: De-Icing Kicked Up
We’re not sure if the known icing approval matters much. But with prodigious flow rates and clever integration, this de-icing package is as good as it gets.
Pilots who fly a lot of weather sort themselves into two groups when it comes to the risk of flying in ice. One group—call them the "I’m-willing-to-give-it-a-go" set will launch into any reasonable forecast and deal with the ice as it comes. The other group—call them the Legal Beagles—would do the same, but they get their pants snagged not so much on the actual risk, but whether the FAA will come after them for flying in forecast or "known ice" in an airplane not equipped for it. Great swaths of pulp forest have been sacrificed in the name of trying to define known ice and we’re not sure we’ve succeeded yet. What we have managed to do is create a not-so-small market slice of would-be buyers to whom an airplane legally equipped for known icing is a big deal. Ever sensitive to the whims of the market, Cirrus has created the perfect airplane for these buyers: The new SR22 line equipped with a TKS-based flight-into-known-ice package. In the past, we’ve viewed so-called FIKI packages as more window dressing than real substance. TKS is such an effective system that, in our view, with respect to actual icing outcomes, whether the system is certified or not is a distinction without a difference. To be sure, known-ice packages protect more surfaces and are probably more robust, but our view is that if 10 airplanes certified for known ice and 10 with so-called inadvertent systems flew the same winter systems for a year, there wouldn’t be a noticeable difference in outcomes. So what’s to improve? In the Cirrus view, that would be the highest fluid rates of any TKS system on a single and what amounts to significant design decisions that mold the Cirrus icing system into an integrated package. Conclusion: It works better, it’s easier to use and gives the pilot more control and more choices. Here’s how.
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