Tell me about Air Conditioning Options

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  • #84006

    Our 310N is a hot plane. Not just in appearance and speed, but mostly up front in the interior. The plane is just too warm. In the summer I typically fly with my shoes off, and even in a white t-shirt and shorts I’ll be too hot. We bought some cling-on shades that can be used up front. While those help, it’s still just too hot. This isn’t good for pilot fatigue, especially since most of our flights are quite long.

    We’ve been wanting to do air conditioning, and it just hasn’t happened yet, in large part because we’ve had other significant issues in the form of new engines and the Aspen. I want to give the prospect a closer look this summer. We’ve looked at the Arctic Air units that utilize ice. However, our typical unique mission (plane filled with dog crates) leaves no space for an ice cooler, especially one large enough to have sufficient capacity for our long days. We need something that is more installed and that doesn’t run out of ice.

    SHoward said his 310R had factory air conditioning under the hat rack, which I’m guessing is electric in nature. One in the nose would be more helpful to us from a W&B perspective, but either would work. My understanding is that the 340/421 AC units (at least earlier ones) took up half of one of the wing lockers. This is less appealing to me as we do use our wing lockers often – they represent our only storage when on dog runs, and when I fly the veterinary teams up north we need all the storage space we can get.

    My local A&P has a good relationship with the FSDO and thinks we could likely get a 337 for retrofitting a system. I see there are a couple of STC systems as well.

    I’m curious as to what everyone’s thoughts are regarding the various factory systems, the STC systems, and the potential for installing any of them.

    Thanks!

    #97608

    I don’t know if there is an STC for your plane but Keith may have a system for you. There is another system from Aircenter out of Chattanooga TN. here is their link
    http://www.aircenterinc.com/coolair_splash.php

    Sandy

    #97610

    A good friend of mine is having one installed by Keith this month … I’m interested as well but with a 20k+ price tag I might just have to be hot

    #97612
    quote cstarnes:

    A good friend of mine is having one installed by Keith this month … I’m interested as well but with a 20k+ price tag I might just have to be hot

    Looks like Q and R models only approved on the STC. It is 20k for the unit, 100 hrs for the install, and additional for the twin 100A alternators – so I would say it is closer to 30k+ – That’s a lot of ice!

    #97613
    quote EPANNING:

    quote cstarnes:

    A good friend of mine is having one installed by Keith this month … I’m interested as well but with a 20k+ price tag I might just have to be hot

    Looks like Q and R models only approved on the STC. It is 20k for the unit, 100 hrs for the install, and additional for the twin 100A alternators – so I would say it is closer to 30k+ – That’s a lot of ice!

    The ice units are not the same as compressor driven A/C units, period. They do an ok job, but quite frankly aren’t worth the hassle, weight, and other issues that are associated with them…at least here in South Texas. I have tried them in just about every size plane I can imagine and did notice a small difference, but it wasn’t drastic as I had thought it would be.

    I will speak for the Keith systems and that it works out quite well and does an excellent job. I also second the total cost of about 30K on any aircraft (twin), but well worth it. As far as Gary Gadberry’s electric A/C, he always steered me in the right direction when it came to Twin Commanders, and the drivers of those aircraft rave about his A/C.

    I have yet to try the Arctic Air electric units, although from what I have heard, they do an ok job, but just don’t have the capacity for a larger cabin due to the low amperage through the 12/24V system without the alternator upgrade. It is nice that you can remove them when you don’t need them though.

    #97614

    If the hot trips were usually ones where it was just us, I might go for the ice units. In reality the hottest trips are ones where we have a plane full of dogs. Simply won’t work.

    But, $30k is also a lot to spend for comfort, especially since we don’t live in Texas, just fly there semi-regularly.

    We’re planning on upgrading alternators anyway, so that’s less of a concern.

    What about the various factory units?

    #97616

    I don’t think you can put a factory unit in your plane. You may want to see if you can hunt down a used keith/jb unit from a 310 or 340.

    #97617

    Wow… 100hrs for the install … yes sounds like 30+ plus…. my friend is trying to make it sound better! Too much for comfort indeed.

    #98981

    we have an installed a arctic air compressor unit and are very pleased with it. I does take some space but can be removed when not in use. I do recommend the 100 amp alternators as it does create a big electric load. TAS installed a drain at last annual so dumping the drip pan is also not a hassle. I have used the ice boxes in the past and was not happy with the performance or the hassle.

    #98983

    The problem with any temporary install for us is that we often have the plane completely packed – it’s a dog freighter (not to be confused for a freight dog), and so an option that doesn’t take up cabin space is critical. Installation underneath the hat rack or in the nose is optimal, with taking up wing locker space being the next best option.

    We’re planning on doing the PlanePower alternator upgrade in the future, so we’ll have plenty of amps.

    #99105
    quote klohr:

    we have an installed a arctic air compressor unit and are very pleased with it. I does take some space but can be removed when not in use. I do recommend the 100 amp alternators as it does create a big electric load. TAS installed a drain at last annual so dumping the drip pan is also not a hassle. I have used the ice boxes in the past and was not happy with the performance or the hassle.

    Is this on a pressurized plane? How do you vent the hot exhaust air?

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