It goes without saying that your windshield is a critical component in your aircraft. Maintaining your critical vision area is imperative to the safety of your crew and passengers. Not to mention, if a windshield fails, you’re looking at an estimated $58,000 in parts costs plus around 45 hours in labor costs to replace the windshield (prices as of April, 2021, subject to change). There are some simple ways to make your Twin Commander windshield last longer, however. With a few, simple pre-flight checks and attention to detail, your windshield will serve you for years to come.
Understanding the Twin Commander Windshield Warranty
First and foremost, it’s important to understand the warranty that comes with your Twin Commander windshield. In 2019, Twin Commander extended its windshield warranty. The warranty states that all new windshield purchases and installations completed at a Twin Commander Factory Authorized Service Center will have a 36-month pro rata warranty—almost double the length of the previous warranty available for Twin Commander windshields.
The Twin Commander windshield warranty only applies to windshields installed by Twin Commander Factory Authorized Service Centers. There are only 14 service centers across the country that are authorized for this work, and Winner Aviation is one of them. If your windshield is installed by a repair center not on that list, you will not be eligible for the warranty coverage.
If a situation arises where your windshield fails (though the steps below should help you avoid the issue), you’ll want to have that warranty in your back pocket.
Pre-Flight Steps To Extend Your Twin Commander Windshield Life
Many Twin Commanders still have fuses for the windshield heating system. Because of the high power draw for windshield heat and the aging of components, the fuse holders and wiring can overheat. When the fuse holders and/or wires overheat, that’s when you begin having windshield issues. If not corrected in a timely manner, the windshield can fail.
A small, but effective, way to avoid this is by venting any excess heat before you ever take off, and by prepping your windshield early for any temperature changes caused by altitude shifts.
Step 1: Verify Windshield Heating Prior to Takeoff
The Aircraft Flight Manual recommends that if the temperature is below 5 degrees Celsius, turn the windshield heat on and keep it on any time outside temperatures are expected to be below the 5 degree Celsius mark. It is up to the pilot’s discretion for continued operation. There are varying thoughts on windshield heat operations, and when to use or not use it. Your experience in your aircraft and your training from a qualified instructor will help prolong the windshield’s life.
Step 2: Watch your overhead meters
During your pre-flight inspection, watch your overhead ammeter when the windshield heat cycles. If you have a fully-functional operating system, you should see a slight change in the ammeter readings or a change in direction of the whiskey compass. If you begin to see a drastic change as the windshield heat cycles, that will indicate a deeper issue that will need to be addressed.
If the windshield heat isn’t working at all, or if it’s causing the fuse system to overheat (which will be indicated by your meters), have a qualified MRO look at it ASAP so you avoid a costly replacement bill.
Step 3: Vent excess heat
If your Twin Commander has been sitting in the heat with the cabin door closed, the cabin will be retaining excess heat. Unlike your automobile, your aircraft will be experiencing a sudden and sometimes quite drastic heat change as you climb to altitude. As with anything, sudden shifts in temperature (i.e. going from a hot airstrip to cold air at high altitude) can cause stress issues that can shorten the life of your windshield.
If you’re in an environment with extreme heat, take a little extra time during your pre-flight and let the cabin vent the excess heat out prior to take off.
When to Have Your Twin Commander Windshield Serviced
If you notice a discrepancy in your heating system at any time, have an MRO look at it as soon as possible. Otherwise, during your 150 hour Twin Commander inspection, ask your MRO to check the fuses and wires, making sure there is no evidence of overheating and check anything that looks suspicious.
At Winner Aviation, we are one of 14 Twin Commander Factory Authorized Service Centers in the country. Have your Twin Commander inspected and repaired by a team you can trust. Contact us today to discuss your next inspection with us.