Donavan L. lives in Wisconsin and primarily flies within the Great Lakes region. His 1984 Beechcraft A36 Bonanza is equipped with inadvertent TKS Ice Protection, which he has flown since 2016.
How did you get started in aviation?
At age 24 I got my pilot’s license. After 10 hours in the air, I knew it was for me and bought a plane. That decision helped me get to my customers and has built the business to what it is today.
Why did you choose TKS?
I researched the daylights out of it. Talked to a bunch of people, experienced pilots. Read a lot of articles. Beechtalk was also a great resource. TKS is a more expensive solution, but not by much. I would rather spend more and be confident in the system. With boots, you’re catching ice along the way. I don’t want ice, period. Based on my research, there’s absolutely no need for boots. It became a no-brainer that TKS was the only way to go.
What has TKS done for your mission?
The whole reason why I fly IFR is so that I can make the judgement call that my personal minimums will allow to take off and come home. My partner and I share expenses on this Bonanza. If you are in the Great Lakes and have a partnership in a plane without ice protection, no one’s going to fly that plane from October through December and February through May. Since we put TKS on it, we can virtually fly the plane year-round.
I would rather wait and deal with unfortunate supply occurrences than fly in IFR without TKS. I wouldn’t even get in a plane without TKS in the middle of July. Ryan, a friend and experienced pilot who has flown many Life Flights, caught ice in the middle of July over Lake Michigan at 12,000 feet. He got out of it with TKS. Ice can happen anytime, especially over the Great Lakes.
Have you had any memorable experiences with TKS?
No, and I don’t want any. What I care about most is the tail. When you’re in the middle of ice and the windows are completely fogged, you can’t see the tail. You don’t know what ice accumulation you’ve got, but you know you need to get out. TKS provides that peace of mind. The titanium looks sexy too. Of course, form follows function.