About Kelly Aerospace Thermal Systems
is an aviation design and development company dedicated to the integration of aircraft systems for general aviation and commuter aircraft. Supported by the NASA SBIR (Small Business Innovative Research) program Kelly Aerospace has created the most innovative products in airplane environmental systems.
In 1998 NASA Glenn initiated the research and development of the Thermawing ice protection system, capable of meeting all aspects of ice protection for the general aviation fleet. Product integration and certification of high output alternators, DC powered air conditioning, and thermoelectric de-icing are all derivatives of the NASA program. Kelly Aerospace continues to develop STC's and PMA'd products for the GA fleet from their new facility at Lost Nation Airport (KLNN) in Willoughby Ohio.
2007 NASA SPINOFF: Deicing System Protects General Aviation Aircraft
In 2007 the publication NASA SPINOFF, marked Kelly's ThermaWing deicing system as the future of ice protection. One objective of NASA's Aviation Safety Program along with the FAA, is combating ice. The ThermaWing proves the most reliable deicing system with non of the drawbacks that "weeping wing" or boots have. -
Read More: Deicing System Protects General Aviation Aircraft
For more information about Kelly Aerospace
Call (440) 951-4744
HISTORY OF THERMAWING™
The ThermaWing™ (formerly EVADE) Ice Protection System development program began in 1999 supported by a NASA Small Business Innovative Research grant (SBIR). The graphite heating element materials have been used for decades in other high temperature heating applications. The grant was utilized to adapt the graphite heating element concept to a configuration useful for de-icing an aircraft.
The current FAA certified heater element configuration was the result of extensive heater development, electronic control system design, and wind tunnel and flight testing. The launch customer for the system was Columbia Aircraft Manufacturing (now Cessna) which utilizes a high performance, state-of-the-art composite airframe which offered unique design challenges. On the Cessna 350 and 400, The ThermaWing™ System utilizes 6 heaters, 3 heater control modules, one main electronic controller, and one 7500 watt alternator to deice the aircraft.
The leading edge portion of the heater, called the 'parting strip' is run 'wet' (above freezing), and is always free of ice. The aft portions of the heater are periodically pulsed to temperatures above freezing to break the bond between the ice and the heater surface. The system operates by pulsing power to each of the 6 heaters, bringing them up to a desired target temperature, creating a liquid 'film' between the heater surface and the ice, thereby allowing the ice to be aerodynamically shed from the protected surface. The unique heater characteristic of virtually instantaneous cooling of the heater precludes the creation of liquid water and generates minimal 'run-back' onto unprotected areas of the wing.
Certification and Initial Production
The FAA/STC for the Columbia 350/400 was received in March, 2006, and installations began on 24 aircraft. There were several issues in these initial installations, primarily related to the unique characteristics of the composite airframe. A 'feed-thru' stud is secured through the wing structure to make the electrical connection between the heater and the wiring running back to the alternator. Composite designs require a copper 'lightning mesh' to be embedded in the composite to act as and electrical 'ground plane', and in several factory and field installations, the feed-thru studs were not adequately insulated from the wire mesh and shorted, resulting in an AD and redesign of the insulators, a mandatory ground-fault check, and revised installation procedures.
As an added system feature, Kelly engineers created a 'Ground Fault Sensor' to continuously monitor the system for electrical current passing between the ThermaWing™ system and the airframe. In the event the sensor sees a fault, the system is automatically shut down before any damage can occur. All aircraft have been reworked and upgraded to this configuration and there have been no further occurrences.
THERMAWING™ System Availability
Retrofit installations on Columbia 350/400 aircraft have been in process since the fall of 2007 with over 90+ aircraft completed. Additional aircraft are in queue for installations throughout 2011 with more being scheduled daily. Installations are being completed at the Kelly Aerospace Thermal Systems facility in Willoughby, Ohio (Cleveland area) and a second facility at Kelly Aerospace in Montgomery, Alabama (MGM).
Maintenance on the ThermaWing™ system is offered at five locations: RDD Enterprises in Redmond, OR; Goodrich Aviation in Binghamton, NY; Kelly Thermal Systems in Willoughby, OH; Kelly Aerospace, Montgomery, AL, and ACG Air-Craft Gmbh, Germany. Additional maintenance facilities will be added throughout the year.
COLUMBIA/CESSNA 350/400 OWNERS: Installation date slots are available now... Contact us for scheduling your airplane. (440) 951-4744
Cessna Position (post Columbia bankruptcy)
After Cessna's acquisition of the Columbia Aircraft Manufacturing assets, Cessna management elected to discontinue offering any wing and tail ice protection system as a factory installation until such time as airframe production was operating smoothly and an ice protection system could be integrated into the production line process. Cessna acknowledges the availability of the ThermaWing™ (formerly EVADE) System STC and its unique technology features and has referred owners who want airframe ice protection to Kelly for the retrofit ThermaWing™ System.