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.