For at least 30 years, CFI Field Morey has been teaching instrument flying to students, and tells them that when it comes to forecasting the weather, the two most important things are judgment and experience. These are attributes that need to be in every instrument pilot's tool kit, but it also helps to have the right equipment in your airplane.
In 1989, Field purchased his first turbocharged Cessna Skylane 182 to give him and his students the ability to climb when icing conditions are present. His current 2013 Cessna T182T Skylane N291FR gives students the capability to easily climb if an icing situation is encountered but also adds a full Garmin G1000 glass panel with GFC700 autopilot. "If I had to pick one piece of anti-icing equipment among boots, TKS fluid, heated leading edges, heated prop, ant-ice windshield, or turbo," says Field, "the turbo would win hands down."
And now Field offers an aircraft with even stronger icing detection capabilities. The latest purchase, a 2015 Cessna Corvalis TTX, is certified for "flight into known icing" conditions, or FIKI. It is part of a full package of instrumentation and equipment that makes the TTx a very good teaching platform for instrument training in almost all weather conditions. "The fact that the TTx is FIKI-certified provides my students with an added layer of comfort when we launch into icing possibilities - that is the main reason I acquired this marvelous machine," Field said.
The full anti-ice equipment list for the Corvalis TTx includes:
• Leading edge titanium panels on all horizontal and vertical surfaces from which the de-ice fluid flows
• TKS anti-ice propeller
• Dual TKS pumps
• 10 gal TKS fluid capacity (2:43 duration using normal mode) with low pressure annunciators
• TKS anti-ice windshield
• Heated pitot and stall warning systems
• Cockpit annunciators for detecting OAT to remind pilot to turn on anti-ice systems
• Ice detection light for detecting leading edge ice buildup at night
• Low airspeed annunciator for operations with airframe icing
To fly the TTx as PIC, Field must pass the Cessna TTx T-240 Cold Weather Course every 12 months, and before each flight, conduct a preflight operational test of all the equipment on the airplane in accord with the Supplemental Section of the POH. The TTx is not certified for takeoff or flight in freezing rain or freezing drizzle, nor is it certified for flight into known or forecast severe icing.
And even though he has years of experience and onboard weather available in the Garmin G1000 and G2000 glass panels in his training airplanes, Field always does plenty of preflight weather research. "I find that PIREPS, location of precipitation based on NEXRAD radar, position of fronts, moisture sources and CIP/FIP icing graphs online in the Aviation Digital Data Service (ADDS) are the most helpful," he said. "The best part is that when I'm airborne on one of my IFR adventure flights, much of this critical weather information is available right in the cockpit, so I can teach students how to assess the situation and make diversions as necessary."