Using TKS to deice on the ground


I parked my plane on the ramp overnight in Rapid City, South Dakota on Sunday night.  The Rieff heater was plugged in, the cowl and canopy covers were secured.  Overnight temperatures were in the 20s, with no precipitation in the forecast.  By 7:30 am the temperature was 30 degrees F, the sky was clear blue, but the plane was covered in 0.25” to 0.5” of frost and ice.


I brought along a two gallon garden sprayer ($18 at Home Depot) for just this possibility, filled it with TKS fluid, and sprayed away.  Within five minutes I had effortlessly sprayed the entire plane and it all just melted away.  This is a far better setup than the handheld spray bottle that I used last winter, which required a good half hour of hand squeezing to cover the plane and then scrape everything off.  The garden sprayer uses more fluid, but its extremely effective in removing the frost and ice: so much so that I didn’t need to use the scraper at all.  As an aside, it helps to have a pair of utility gloves on the plane, both for warmth and to avoid ruining a good pair of gloves with all that TKS fluid.  Its also important to depressurize and empty out the garden sprayer before takeoff.


Incidentally, the rest of day was spent flying at 12,000’, with an OAT of minus 10 to minus 18 degrees C.  When I landed in Truckee, CA the frost from Rapid City was still intact on the canopy cover!  A nice prelude to the 8” of snow which fell last night.


Here are photos of this experience:







If you look closely, you can even see a thin layer of frost just past the letter N, where the canopy cover ended.  This plane was just covered.




Sprayer in hand, making believe I’m a deicing truck.



Five minutes later, the plane was as clean and shiny as a baby’s bottom (?!?).