Piper Aircraft is adding the Kelly Aerospace ThermaCool air conditioning system to new 2012 twin-engine Piper Seminoles as an option, and making the system available via retrofit for the Seminole fleet. Kelly Aerospace Thermal Systems, LLC and Piper worked collaboratively on the FAA-approved Supplemental Type Certificate and made the announcement jointly Tuesday.
"The field-installable kit will be available for in-service Seminoles through Piper's distribution network," said Piper Head of Sales Administration and Customer Support Lisa Giessert. "The Seminole continues to gain popularity with many large multi-engine training fleets, several of which are located in warm climates around the world," she added.
"Now these training fleets and new Piper Seminoles rolling off the Vero Beach assembly line can meet the strong demand for a cool cabin environment to enhance training effectiveness," she added. The electric Freon air conditioning system can also provide efficient ground cooling from a 28-volt power cart while instructors perform system orientations and avionics training without running the engines.
With engines running, air conditioning power is supplied from a new lightweight 28-volt/60 amp alternator mounted on the left engine, which also creates a 28 volt independent electrical bus for powering additional aircraft electrical components for special applications. The air conditioning system uses less than 45 amps at peak load and has a total weight of approximately 60 pounds including the 28 volt bus system. "System simplicity, reliability and performance were the primary design criteria from Piper," said Kelly Aerospace Chairman and CEO Kent R. Kelly. "The system uses a self-contained hermetically-sealed, brushless DC motor/compressor which is maintenance-free and has the reliability of a commercial refrigeration unit," he added.
Cool air is ducted through the Seminole's air distribution and ventilation system. All the components are mounted in the aft tail cone with no interface with the engines. The only evidence of the system in the cockpit is a panel mounted digital-display controller. Operators simply set the desired temperature and the system does the rest. "Compressor speeds are automatically controlled and fan speeds can be automatic or manual. In a sun-soaked environment the system will drop the cabin temperature 18 degrees Fahrenheit in less than eight minutes, a dramatic relief for pilots and passengers," Kelly added.