Last summer, there was a thread on the SR20.Org site about the Porta-Chill (the poor-man’s air conditioning). With summer already here in South Florida and Cirrus air-conditioning obviously far, far away, the prospect of the coming months brings this product back to center stage.

Has anyone had any experience with this product in their Cirrus or other plane?

Does the melting of the ice create high humidity levels in the cockpit?

Can Radomsky & Son manufacture a better alternative or get us a bulk purchase discount?

John Kinsey
SR22 # 182

In reply to:

Can Radomsky & Son manufacture a better alternative or get us a bulk purchase discount?


Hey John…

As far as manufacturing goes, our expertise is in electronics… I wouldn’t buy a refrigeration unit from me, no way!

Bulk Buy? Sure… if there are enough people interested, I’d be happy to try. The worst that can happen is that they say “No”. So… by show of posts… how many ARE interested in this?

Hmmm… Port-a-Chill, eh? Same company as Port-a-Potty? Are you sure they cool your WHOLE body? [;)]


Ok here’s the deal. The more we buy the more we can save. I realize this may only appeal to us “southern” fliers - AZ to FL perhaps. The unit sells for $349.95. All info can be seen on PortaChill . One question raised so far is weight: “Weights - 8 pounds dry, 22 pounds wet with 2 bags of crushed ice in the ice-trays and bottom. 27 pounds (calculated) with four ice-bricks”

The deal so far: 5 units at $329.99. 10 units at $300 plus the ice trays to make ice bricks. We didn’t even discuss more units. So let me know, either here or via e-mail.

PS. John - I will have my unit by Friday if you want to see it.

Hi - I personally know one of the principals in this little adventure. I know they have been selling it (in their opinion) at the low end - however if there is enough interest I can approach him about a bulk buy. Personally I’m supposed to get one for my own personal use. However, my plane isn’t due until August.

In reply to:

I know they have been selling it (in their opinion) at the low end - however if there is enough interest I can approach him about a bulk buy.


Great! I hereby pass on the chilly mantle of nomination to you…


I used one last summer
and don’t need it because my truck got A/C…
I would even sell it for $200.00

but I recommend it…It did a nice job if only for 20-30 minutes…at a time…

block ice extends the time…but very refreshing…

I’ve just put in a call and left a message to inquire! :slight_smile:

I have a very cheap alternative to staying cool while on the ground and climbing. Take one of those pouches filled with re-freezable blue gel that are used is small ice coolers, freeze it, wrap a thin dish towel around it to control condensation and squeeze that thing between your thighs (or use as a lumbar support). Guaranteed to keep the body temparture down and making you feel cool. On the hot days, I just grab one from the freezer and toss it in my flight bag. Cheap, simple and no bulky contraptions.

In reply to:

The deal so far: 5 units at $329.99. 10 units at $300 plus the ice trays to make ice bricks. We didn’t even discuss more units. So let me know, either here or via e-mail.

Not to offer competition (perhaps the opposite - this device is almost double the price), but simply to point out the legitimacy of this market, I suggest you also look at the Will*Cool system, which seems to have similarities (and some interesting differences).

I know someone who uses this system and is very happy with it. This may be another Bose/Lightspeed type of discussion – claims to be better, but worth double the money?.

No, I won’t be offering power supplies for either.[;)]


Just taxi with the doors open. As soon as you are at altitude there is plenty of cold air up there!

The between the thighs option sounds a little bit kinky to me. Bruce Goldman and I are planning to go flying Friday with his factory demonstrator Porta-chill. With typical South Florida afternoon temps. in the center of the state (Lakeland) typically in the low 90’s lately, and temps. up to 5000 feet still in the 80’s, we’ll give the thing a workout and report back. I’m not a big fan of having something hanging between the front seats as this appears to do, but we’ll see.
On a related note, has anyone gotten sheepskin covers for their Cirrus??? The folded towel behind the back is getting old real fast.

John Kinsey
SR 22 # 182

I’ve built a little gadget for keeping the cabin temps down while the plane is parked on the ramp in hot weather - a computer CPU fan attached to a 1.5 inch I.D. PCV pipe fitting, powered by a solar cell that sits on top of the instrument panel. The pipe fitting slips over the bolster air outlet and allows the fan to draw in air through the wing air inlet. Won’t cool below ambient temps, but does keep the cabin temps from skyrocketing in the sun with the doors closed, and doesn’t work off ship’s power, so you can leave it running all the time…

Cool Idea! (pun intended). I have a similiar device I purchased
that fits on the top of a slightly rolled down window for my car. Works great.

Walt N224AZ

This sounds interesting. Can you post a bill of materials and maybe a photo?

Ever seen one of those thermoelectric igloo coolers? … the ones with the solid-state peltier cooling module that runs on about 4 amps at 12 volts DC? (At 24 volts, that would be a mere 2 amps…) Methinks its time to get to work engineering a flow-through peltier device to use as A/C for my Cirrus. Anybody have any good ideas on where to run the waste heat air stream? I’m thinking in through one of the back seat eyeball nozzles, out through the tail via the rear seat shoulder harness reels…

In the winter, reverse the polarity through the peltier module and you get an auxillary heating unit instead of cooling…

Calling all electrical engineers and gizmologists. Lets build one!

In reply to:

Lets build one!


It’s a wonderful idea… but I think that scale is the problem. I don’t have the knowledge to do the calcs, but some of the differences between those igloo coolers and the airplane are the volume of air (obviously), the fact that the igloo is pretty well insulated while the airplane is more or less a greenhouse, etc. Also, those igloo things aren’t really refrigerators - they promise only X degrees (10?)cooler than ambient.

Still, I’d love to see the problem laid out… just how much air IS there in the cabin? How many BTUs of cooling would we need, and how efficient are those solid state cooling modules? Anyone?


I was reading about them…
Igloo says 40 degress below temperatures…

if you used two of them and put them in series and had the same cooler setup…as portachill…

you would have to work out flow through…
it would be 3 fans (2 for the circuits) and 1 large one for the exit fan…

heat waste would be the problem …
and possible dc electric amps possibly…

there are many companys that make the peltier circuits themselves…

interesting concept…

Sure. The gadget is in the plane now, but I can snap a pic in the next few days and post it along with the fan part # from radio shack and the solar cell manuf. The PVC bit is just a 1.5 I.D. to 2.0 O.D. plumbing pipe adapter…

O.K., per your request, here are the pictures of my SR20 ventilation fan. (click here)

The gizmo is a 1-1/2 inch diameter, 50 milliamp, 12 volt DC CPU cooling fan, mounted on a 2 inch to 1-1/4 inch schedule 40 PVC pipe adapter fitting. The inside of the small end of the fitting is lined with felt to make a snug seal on the “eyeball” air outlet vent (it will fit any of the 4 air vents). The big end of the fitting has 4 triangular notches, the depth of the fan, cut out of its periphery to accept the 4 corners of the fan so the fan fits flush in the fitting. The fan is glued into the end of the fitting using silicone caulk. Make sure you mount it so the air blows OUT of the fitting, not into it! (I painted the outside of the fitting to match the fan, just so it would look tidy.) The fan is connected to a 12 volt, 125 milliamp solar panel array (one of those sold as “trickle chargers” for boats, RVs, etc.), which sits on top of the instrument panel when in use. (I put two strips of the “sticky” 1/2 of velcro on the back of the panel - when not in use, I just hang it on the carpet on the back wall of the luggage area. The fan and its cord go into the luggage door pocket.

Hope this is what you wanted to know!

P.S. Sorry about the overall picture quality - I had to compress the snot out of the images to get the overall picture down to a manageable size…

How creative! I have the Porta-Chill in hand, and John and I will be testing it out tomorrow. I did an online search tonight and found other types of “air-conditioners” and evaporators - used in cars, rv’s, boats etc. None of them look real useable in an airplane without modifications. I also looked at portable refrigerators which would require a fan/duct similar to the Porta-Chill to make them useful - but that may be a neat idea!