I’m planning a long trip and wondering what pilots have experienced in being able to top off TKS fluid at FBOs. I’ll be making an arc from the northeast down the east cost across Texas, over to Tucson and then up to Yellowstone. TKS is generally not listed on the FBO services tab on ForeFlight.
I don’t have an answer for you other than to call ahead to see if the FBO has TKS available. That said, very few of our 6000+ members frequent the “guest section” Most stay on the “Members” side for discussions like this. There are close to 2 million posts there. A search over there might even get you a quick answer.
I fly around northeast and it’s hit or miss, so much so I call ahead to FBO day before if I think I may need more than the full TKS + 5g in the back. I think KSWF, KROC, KFRG, KMHT have had when I needed on short notice.
Don’t count on anyone here in Tucson having TKS fluid. I live here and my plane just left with Brian from Nexair to go to the East Coast. I inquired everywhere here to get some and nobody carried it. I ended up ordering some. Having said that, if you get here and need some, give me a shout. I’ll be happy to bring some by.
It is very, very hit or miss. I fly in a lot of areas where you’d think there would be TKS fluid readily available due to the weather (Omaha for instance) - and was surprised to discover no FBO’s had it. Service centers had it, but only in the gigantic drums so would need to fly the plane there to get it.
Often times I find if there’s a pilot shop near an airport they will carry it, but typically FBO’s don’t (one example is the pilot supply shop near the airport at Centennial KAPA - for those in the area, it’s the one down the hill near the entrance - not next to DJC). In terms of near your route of flight I’ve found that the FBO at Flagstaff DOES typically have it and it’s dirt cheap relatively speaking, I’ve stopped there many times and picked it up on my way to Vegas hauling it with me since it’s much less expensive than having it shipped.
Also, clarify when you call HOW MUCH TKS you will need - I remembers encountering some icing in Arizona and called the FBO from the Sat Phone in ABQ since I felt it was wise to top off given I was heading to Colorado and there was a risk of being in-and-out of more ice. So I called and was assured they had it… when I landed, I realized that yes, they had it… but only 1 GALLON! Lesson learned.
If you’ve got time on your side, best bet is to have it shipped to you. I have Avlabs ship me a case or two each year - they ship quickly, comes nicely packaged in jugs with bags over them in case of a leak - and are really nice people. Have also used DW in the past which was also a nice experience, have just found Avlabs to be more price competitive.
Enjoy your trip!
I generally don’t like to get down below 2 gals a side so I would generally need 4 gals to top off at an FBO. Sounds like I just need to call ahead or have a case sent out to one of my intermediate stops. I’m going to top off before I leave and carry a couple gallons. I’d carry more but I’m going to be tight on weight. Many thanks for your help. I’ll also check out the member side.
I carry a 5 gallon container with me and generally try to plan trips around Cirrus Service center airports which sometimes helps but not always. Calling ahead is best bet.
That’s a good plan to be on the safe side and not need to worry about finding it on your trip.
In all honesty, if you’re burning through that much TKS fluid you may want to re-consider routing or delay along the way in favor of better weather. I do relatively frequent “loops” of the country running 30-40 hours at a time and I can’t remember a time when I got below 4 gallons despite doing these flights every month of the year.
The extra that I carry with me are simply to top-off if when I happen to use some along the route as I always like the tanks full - and in many cases, I have them simply because I’ve picked some up along the way as TKS is either not available or exorbitantly expensive in Florida.
I know these systems are incredibly capable and have likely burned through more of this liquid gold glycol ($$) than I can count in the past 10 years of having FIKI… yet I still am extremely cautious to limit the system use to penetration and escape from unforecast icing - not to sit in it or fly for any extended period of time. If you’ve got full TKS at take-off, plus a few top-off jugs and are still needing to find a place to get more TKS, you may want to pause and see if there’s a better path or timing to your destination.
Sound advice. I don’t hang out in the clag but seems like you can burn more TKS than you would expect. Thanks for your thoughts. Will take to heart in my planning.
Good point on routing etc, however by the time you wet out ahead of expected icing a few times, plus some actual exposure, it’s quite easy to land close to minimum dispatch quantity. Having a couple of gallons in the back has helped me out a few times for sure.
One of those gallons is dual purpose and lives in a large spray bottle which I use to clear frost too. It’s surprisingly easy to stop at dusk for fuel and by the time you are topped off and refreshed there’s a sparkly layer on you wings!
I find that fields with Cirrus shops are a solid bet for TKS and there’s a foreflight overlay for that. Just call ahead though, makes sense!
John, if you’re near KIPT please stop by and give me a call…we’ve got TKS (COPA family in Williamsport) to top you off. Safe travels!
I wondered if it was just me but I’m glad to see I’m not the only one who can find TKS lower than I d like after priming the system and wetting out the panels a couple times. I’ve started calling FBOs along my route and adjusting my route slightly to be able to visit a service center now and again.