Ken L. lived in Rochester, New York and now lives in Florida. Before moving in 2015, he primarily flew throughout the Great Lakes, Upper Midwest, East Coast and Canada. Ken owns a 2007 Beechcraft G36 Bonanza equipped with a Flight Into Known Icing (FIKI) TKS Ice Protection System, which he operated in the northern United States for 4 years. The airplane is the first G36 that was FIKI certified.
How did you get started in aviation?
I started at an engineering college. They had an aviation ground school. That sounded like an interesting use of an elective that I had. In college I got my license and flew for a couple of years. There was a 20-year gap before I started flying again. In addition to personal trips, I use my airplane for business purposes.
Why did you choose TKS?
I wanted known ice certification. TKS was really the only readily available option for the Bonanza. The certification process was being talked about, so that was an easy path. Beyond it being the easy route, I was aware of some of the aspects of boots–the pros and cons associated with them. One of the things that always stuck with me was the TKS system. The spray off the propeller washes back over the windshield. It helps clean off the antennas as well. I don’t know about you, but if you’re flying along in IMC and you’ve got ice, now all of a sudden you’ve got something going on with your antennas, which affects your ability to communicate. That’s just making a bad situation even worse.
What does TKS do for your mission?
Expanded the portion of the year when I could use the aircraft. Around the same time, I also installed an engine block heater. Between the engine block heater and the TKS, it opened up the ability to plan and schedule flights for the winter, spring and fall in the northern United States. I don’t have exact numbers on utilization, but if you looked at some kind of time expansion of utilization, maybe 20-25%.
Any memorable experiences in icing with TKS?
I do remember one flight where I had to choose between going higher or get out of the clouds but pick up tremendous headwinds, or stay in the clouds with some light icing. I didn’t think the icing condition was a danger. Of course you don’t want it to build up. So I ran the TKS system on low for an hour or so. In that case, in allowed me to stay at lower altitude where winds were more favorable.