What is different about the Cirrus TKS Known-Ice Protection System? In 2009, Cirrus Aircraft gave a known problem (icing) a clearer solution. The FIKI system was a $24,500 option over the basic ice protection. It seems Cirrus Aircraft pursues a vision of careful iterative innovation.
The TKS known-ice protection has new and upgraded components over Cirrus Aircraft’s basic inadvertent ice protection system including:
• Three TKS pumps
• Two 4-gallon TKS tanks
• TKS panel added to the vertical tail
• Multi-head TKS spray nozzle for the windshield
• Mini-panels added to the mass balance elevator front edge
• LED ice lights for night illumination of wing surfaces
• Heated stall vane/angle of attack sensor on leading wing edge
TKS panels extend from wing root to outer leading edge just as they do on the G3 TKS
anti-ice system. The horizontal tail leading edge is like the G3 TKS except Cirrus added new TKS mini-panel “horns” to the mass balance of the elevator’s front edge, and a new TKS panel was added to the front edge of the vertical tail to spread more fluid. These laser-drilled titanium units can deliver more anti-icing fluid more quickly.
As with the basic inadvertent ice protection, a slinger ring protects the prop. The prop slinger also throws TKS fluid on the windscreen but the new FIKI system also has a windshield automotive style spray unit which pilots can use to more precisely manage forward visibility and the windshield pump can also be used to prime the system if air gets trapped in the lines from running the tanks dry.
At night, pilots can better check wing surfaces with illumination from new LED-powered ice lights on either side of the fuselage. Ice accretion can change a plane’s angle of attack, so to aid pilotage, Cirrus added a heated stall vane/angle of attack sensor to the leading wing edge.
Pilots have an enhanced system display on the MFD, which shows you the amount of fluid in each tank, and available de-icing time at the three flow rates (max, high and normal). The system will even display aircraft range available under current conditions.
There’s more fluid capacity to address the hazard of ice. Each wing has a 4-gallon TKS tank that when filled gives the system up to 2.5 hours of operation. Automatic cycling between the tanks will keep the fluid levels roughly even. The new system includes backup pumps.
The known-ice protection system option adds significant weight to the SR22. About 61 pounds when empty, which is roughly 23 pounds more than the basic ice protection package. But the total weight depends on how much TKS fluid you’re carrying. Full fluid adds 73 pounds for a system weight increase of 134 pounds (TKS fluid weighs 9.125 lbs per gallon).
In 2009, pilots received some good news on useful load. Cirrus decreased the basic empty weight substantially, in part by using a new Hartzell prop with a lighter hub as standard equipment. The forward nose weight reduction was really needed because it also allowed for the removal of a ballast weight in the tail. This change largely offset the incremental weight of the known-ice protection system without the fluid. Then In 2013, Cirrus Aircraft made numerous changes that certified the SR22 G5 for an extra 200 lb increase in useful load.
Customers who decline any ice protection option gain substantially in total useful load. That choice is sometimes called a “hot weather wing configuration.”
It’s expected that customers who choose the known-ice protection system are those that fly in northern regions, where ice is a common wintertime hazard. But pilots choosing the turbo option routinely operate in the high teens and 20s, where ice is a potential issue throughout much of the country most of the year.
Cirrus Aircraft emphasizes that the intent of their anti-icing system is not to allow you to fly in the ice but to give you more time and additional margins to escape ice should you encounter it. The Cirrus Icing Awareness Course brings this message home and is required training for those customers purchasing a Known-Ice equipped airplane.
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