Edition: Already an up and coming favorite on a number of
new high-performance GA birds, the folks who brought the TKS
anti-icing system to the aviation market are about to unveil yet
another novel product. Having taken an innovative approach to
keeping a plane's wings clear of ice and frost using a glycol based
de-icing fluid existed through fine-mesh surfaces, the latest
system from the designers of the TKS system, Aerospace Systems
& Technologies Inc., also hopes to keep your wings clean during
the rest of the flight, using the same technology.
TKS owner, AS&T, tipped their hand to ANN during an
exclusive interview in which they admitted that their latest
product, RETROFITTABLE no less, will allow aircraft
already equipped with TKS anti-/de-icing systems, to replace
the normal TKS (glycol) fluid and substitute it with
a proprietary mixture of water, liquid Tide (with color-safe
bleach), and vinegar (to reduce streaking). The system is activated
in-flight to remove contaminants on the leading edge of the
aircraft, and works especially well during flight in rain and
Like the icing system that inspired AS&T "SlickWings"
technology, operation is a simple matter of using a
single on/off switch. The only major change involved in this
system is a new placard that replaces the anti-ice/de-ice mode with
a "Grunge/De-Grunge" label for the actuating switch. In the
De-Grunge mode, the cleaning fluid is deployed to provide a thin
film of solvents over the entire aircraft that not only
cleans and dries quickly as the relative air "aero-squeegees"
the solutions from the airframe, but the residue of solvents
that remain make it harder for grease, dirt and bugs to adhere
to the airframe.
There are reportedly some additional benefits to this system
besides a squeaky clean image for your favorite airplane.
Preliminary information indicates that a 3 knot speed increase has
been realized during a number of flight-test profiles due to the
cleaner/slicker surfaces and the resultant reduced drag that is
created by the SlickWings system.
AS&T spokesperson, Karl G Moonie, noted that, "This new
product will be especially handy as we approach the 'bug' season of
2006, and has a bonus feature of justifying a TKS system to your
'significant other' year-round!" Karl admitted that the one
downside to the system is that it does require that a pilot switch
from the cleaning solution to the de-icing fluid when there is ANY
possibility of encountering actual icing conditions, but that a
hybrid solution that allows for BOTH de-icing AND cleaning
properties is in the works. AS&T hopes to seek a TSO for
the combo-solution before the end of the year.
Further; a special high surface-tension mixture is being
developed so that an aircraft will be able to spray bubbles during
aerobatic routines and airshows. "That's a real crowd-pleaser...
kids love it!" Karl added.