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Wed, Apr 13, 2005

Give Me A PA32... But Hold The Ice, Please!

Piper Introduces Emergency Icing Protection On PA-32s

To enhance safety and protect pilots who find themselves in unexpected icing conditions, New Piper Aircraft, Inc. will offer its new Piper Inadvertent Icing Protection System (PIIPS) as optional equipment on it's unpressurized six-seat single-engine models - the Saratoga II HP, the Saratoga II TC, the Piper 6X and the Piper 6XT.

Based on the highly reliable and effective TKS 'weeping-wing' technology developed by Aerospace Systems and Technologies, Inc., PIIPS provides pilots with the capability to stop ice formation or remove small amounts of accumulated ice in the event they encounter unforecasted icing conditions.

"PIIPS is an excellent example of how Piper continually strives to move the needle in meeting our customers expectations for safety and reliability," said New Piper President and CEO Chuck Suma. "Pilots of these high-performance aircraft expect - and deserve - a lot, and PIIPS delivers a new level of technology and safety to our customers."

While the PIIPS installation in the PA-32s will not be Flight Into Known Icing (FIKI) approved and does not give pilots the capability to fly in or dispatch into known icing conditions, it is an easy and capable system for use in emergency situations. When activated by the pilot, the system pumps a glycol based fluid onto the leading edge (shown below) of the wings, horizontal stabilizer, and propeller.

A simple, three-position toggle switch controls operation and a panel-mounted gauge shows the remaining fluid level. Pilots can select between "Off, Normal, and TKS MAX." "Normal" operation will produce a protective film of glycol that will keep the airframe free of ice for up to two hours with a full tank of fluid. Another significant benefit to both operation modes is the elimination of any run back ice on the airframe.

In the event that a layer of ice has already accumulated on the aircraft, pilots can select the "TKS MAX" mode, which doubles the amount of glycol fluid distributed to the wings, horizontal stabilizer, and propeller slinger ring and effectively breaks the accumulated ice bond. Because the system is doubling its flow rate, a full glycol tank will provide one hour of operation in "TKS MAX" mode. 

"The reality is that pilots have to be prepared for the unexpected," said Molly Martin Pearce, New Piper's Director of Dealer Relations & Sales. "When weather forecasts are off the mark, and pilots inadvertently find themselves in icing conditions, the build up of airframe ice can be quick and dangerous. Having PIIPS takes preparedness to a new level and ensures that pilots have the safety margin to exit icing conditions quickly and effectively."

Aircraft performance is virtually unaffected because the system adds a mere 81 pounds when fully fueled with full fluid. PIIPS has a dry weight of approximately 35 lbs, and the fluid weighs 9.2 pounds per gallon, for a total of 46 pounds of fluid when full.

PIIPS features porous, laser drilled (each hole about the diameter of a human hair), titanium panels that are installed on the leading edges of the wings and horizontal stabilizer. A slinger ring is installed on the propeller. When the system is activated, a glycol based fluid 'weeps' through the panels and slinger ring to flow over these surfaces, keeping the aircraft virtually ice free.

Under normal operation this system requires minimum upkeep. As the system is used, it flushes out any accumulation of debris that may be on the surface of the panels. And the glycol, the main ingredient of the ice protection fluid, has cleaning properties that will not harm the paint finish on the aircraft. In fact, the only routine maintenance required is the periodic replenishing of the glycol holding tank by the pilot/operator.



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