October 29, 2012
By Thomas B Haines
The Kestrel single-engine turboprop will be the first certified airplane to leverage an electro-mechanical expulsion deicing system (EMEDS) on its wings. Kestrel Aircraft’s Alan Klapmeier said he chose the system for his airplane project to maximize performance, but also found that the system’s life cycle cost will be lower than pneumatic boots.
The system, built by Cox Company of Long Island, N.Y., uses an electro-mechanical pulse on the leading edge of the tail and wing surfaces to bust off accumulated ice. The system is currently certified on the horizontal tail surfaces of the Hawker 4000 and Premier I. It is also being used on the tail surfaces of the HondaJet and the Learjet 85, both still in development. The V-tail and wings of the Northrop Grumman BAMS unmanned aircraft are also deiced by the system, but the UAS is not certified.
Klapmeier hasn’t yet said when the Kestrel will be certified, but he expects it will be in about three years, will fly at about 320 knots, and sell for about $3 million. He is still seeking additional funding for the project, which will be built in Superior, Wis. Once funding through completion is assured, he will announce more specific information and begin taking non-refundable deposits.
Cox officials say their EMEDS is compatible with metallic and composite leading edges and allows for laminar flow on the wings at about the same weight as a boot system.
AOPA Editor in Chief Tom Haines joined AOPA in 1988. He owns and flies a Beechcraft A36 Bonanza. Since soloing at 16 and earning a private pilot certificate at 17, he has flown more than 100 models of general aviation airplanes.
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