Frank Gundal lives in Massachusetts and primarily flies locally within Massachusetts and throughout the Northeast. For longer trips, he will occasionally fly to the Bahamas, Nova Scotia and the Midwest. Frank owns a 1982 Beechcraft A36 Bonanza equipped with No-Hazard TKS Ice Protection, which he has been flying for over 7 years.
How did you get started in aviation?
When I was 13 or 14 years old, my father had a friend with a Cessna. He took us up over the American’s Cup Race in Rhode Island. That piqued my interest. I ended up getting my license at 19.
Why did you choose TKS?
I started out with a Cherokee Lance and had a hiatus from aviation for a while. When I got back into flying, a friend of mine who is a BPPP instructor started really talking me into the Bonanza. He ended up helping me find mine. We’re flying back from the top of Florida, leveled off, and he asks, “What’s the first thing you’re going to do to the plane?” I said I’m not going to do anything because I just dropped a buck and a half. He said you need to get TKS on it. I wanted to be able to utilize the plane more in the winter, so a couple years later I got it.
What does TKS do for your mission?
I can use it in the winter. It’s like having an IFR ticket. It doesn’t mean you can fly wherever you want, whenever you want. But it brings the numbers of availability and safety factor way the heck up. You make a decision if you’re going to fly whether it’s full VFR or IFR. Sometimes it may not be full VFR and you can get caught, so IFR is the safety factor. It’s the same thing with predicting no icing. What happens if you do?
Any truly memorable experiences in icing with TKS?
We really got tested out well when we came back from Colorado in January 2017. We took off from Montrose. The weather was not great. We decided to go south and head around the Rockies that way to get through that. There was probably 30-40 minutes of weather. We had never really put it through the runs before that. But we looked at it and said well we’re going to be in the soup before Grand Junction. We will head south and can turn around back to Grand Junction if we need. There’s warm weather when we’re going to be out of it, and there’s warm weather in front of us. We heard other planes getting ice. We looked out the window and just watched the ice melt away. It was a huge level of comfort. We hit various patches on the way back, but the time we changed altitudes was at 17K. It was pretty tough out. We requested down to 15K and again it just melted away.