TKS ice protection systems were first developed in WWII. Aimed at being an alternative to pneumatic boot deicing on the Royal Air Force bombers, TKS systems continued to grow in popularity and functionality. Today, the technology buys pilots critical time as they work to implement exit strategies while in dangerous, icing conditions.
How TKS Systems Work
TKS (which stands for Telcalemit-Kilfrost-Sheepbridge for the three companies that invented the system) systems dispense an ethylene glycol-based fluid. This fluid has a freezing point below -70℉ and is released through thousands of laser drilled holes along the titanium panels of the wing and empennage. As air flows over the wing and empennage—and the tiny laser drilled holes that are no wider than a human hair—it disperses the fluid, coats the surfaces, and prevents the formation and adherence of ice.
The TKS system also leverages slinger rings to prevent ice accumulation on the propeller. As the metal rings spin with the propeller, TKS fluid is flung onto the propeller and ultimately lowers the freezing point.
TKS systems can provide up to three hours of protection, depending on the flow rate, which is typically enough time to allow the pilot to safely exit the dangerous weather conditions.
These systems effectively reduce maintenance demands and increase reliability, because they are just one moving part as compared to the more complex booted or thermal systems.
Maintaining Your TKS Systems
Of course, despite the ease of maintenance with a TKS system, maintenance is still required. In fact, it’s important that the elements of the filter are replaced when necessary and that leaks, should they occur, are repaired. Maintaining the overall health and functionality of your TKS systems is a more affordable process than replacing them altogether should they fail.
In 2013, Caravan released a service letter effectively allowing for the repair of filters and filter cartridges. If you have a Cessna aircraft, talk with your maintenance team about your TKS system inspection and maintenance.
To inspect your TKS system for wear and tear, and repair issues as needed, your maintenance team should follow a handful of detailed steps. After electrically grounding the plane, switching all switches to OFF/NORM, and disconnecting the electrical power from the airplane, your maintenance team will remove the filter assembly from the airplane. And replace the filter element as needed.
The filters on the Caravan TKS ice protection system essentially provide filtration for te ice protection fluid and remove contaminants to keep the porous panels on the wing and empennage protected. Contamination ultimately occurs from long-term use, or can even occur in the short-term if contaminated fluid is added to the tank. That’s why inspection is so important on an ongoing basis.
Your maintenance team should also inspect all sheet metal components for deformation, cracking, or wear, and replace those components if damaged. They should also inspect the bolts and washers for wear, as well as the filter couplets in the inlet and outlet manifolds.
Winner Aviation is a Cessna Factory Authorized Service Center
Winner Aviation is a Factory Authorized Service Center for Cessna Textron Aviation’s single engine piston aircraft up through Cessna Caravan 208B. We’re here to help you with you TKS system inspections and maintenance, as well as all of the other scheduled and unscheduled maintenance requirements for your aircraft. Request a quote from us today, or simply get in touch with our knowledgeable maintenance team to ask them specific questions about your plane.