by Dave Weiman
Published in Midwest Flyer – February/March 2018
If there is ever a winter in the Midwest that we need an engine preheater, insulated engine cover and avionics/cabin heater, it is the winter of 2018. As I sit in my office with my heater blasting away, I think of my poor Cessna 182 Skylane sitting in its cold, unheated hangar, waiting for me to go flying! (As soon as we complete this issue, that’s exactly what I’m going to do… Go flying!) But before I do, I will plug in my Tanis Engine Preheater, wrap the cowling with a Tanis Insulated Engine Cover, and plug in my new Tanis Avionics/Cabin Heater.
I have long owned Tanis Engine Preheaters for my aircraft, starting with our Cessna 172, and for the last 32 years, for our Cessna 182, and I wouldn’t think of going flying in the wintertime without first plugging them in. In the past, the night before I went flying, I would plug in my Tanis Engine Preheater, and wrap the cowling with my Tanis Insulated Engine Cover, thinking I had the bases covered, but I didn’t. While the engine preheater warms the engine, it was not intended to warm the avionics and cabin, so I ordered a Tanis Avionics/Cabin Heater.
The Tanis AV Series Heater is a 500-watt, forced air heater that uses a Positive Temperature Coefficient (PTC), also known as a ceramic heating element, and an 80,000-hour fan motor rated from -40 to + 65 C/149F. That’s over 9 years of continuous use in the most extreme temperatures! And 500 watts means you can run both your Tanis Engine Preheater and Tanis Avionics/Cabin Heater on one 15-amp, 115-volt circuit (UL, TUV & CE certified). You can also have the Tanis Avionics/Cabin Heater permanently mounted on your airframe, and many of the commercial operators do that, but I keep mine totally portable. The Tanis Avionics/Cabin Heater may also be interconnected with your Tanis Engine Preheat System.
Unfamiliar with the Tanis Avionics/Cabin Heater at first, I had a few questions before I ordered mine:
Q) Has the Tanis Avionics/Cabin Heater replaced the Tanis floor mat heater, which is also intended to warm avionics and cabins?
A) Yes. Tanis has not manufactured the floor mats since 2011.
Q) How many owners of the Tanis Avionics/Cabin Heater keep them plugged in and running 24/7 in the winter, versus 30 minutes or 60 minutes before each flight?
A) Currently, most aircraft owners are running the cabin heaters on a separate power cord and plugging them in the night before, or prior to each flight. Many aircraft owners are using a cellular switch option for turning on their Tanis Avionics/Cabin Heater (like they do for their Tanis Engine Preheater). The avionics/cabin heater uses approximately 500 watts, where the preheater is around 240 watts for a four-cylinder engine, and 460 watts for a six-cylinder engine.
Q) What percentage of aircraft owners have permanently installed their Tanis Avionics/Cabin Heaters in their aircraft, versus those owners who choose to keep them portable and free standing?
A) All of the helicopter and turboprop owners have the Tanis Avionics/Cabin Heater installed permanently, and Tanis believes that most owners of piston aircraft do not, but that is what the company is working towards.
Q) Has either the avionics/cabin heater or floor mat heater ever started a fire?
Just think of what we have invested in avionics. Isn’t it worth a couple hundred dollars to protect that investment with a Tanis Avionics/Cabin Heater? I think so, and I think you will too!
The Tanis Avionics/Cabin Heater is the only certified avionics/cabin heater on the market, reasonably priced at $340.00, and comes with a three-year warranty.
And just like the pillow guy you see on television, all Tanis products are made in the owner’s home state of Minnesota!
Tanis manufactures all of its own systems at its facility at Glenwood Municipal Airport (FAA-PMA#: PQ2364CE) in West Central Minnesota. Its engineers, and sales and administrative staff, are based near the Anoka County-Blaine Airport in the Minneapolis suburb of Blaine. These locations provide excellent access to many aircraft for design and testing in real world cold weather conditions.
Tanis Aircraft Products is a company of “firsts.” Since the late Peter Tanis started the business in 1974, Tanis was the first manufacturer to develop engine-mounted preheat systems for piston engines, the first manufacturer to offer a preheat system for helicopters, the first manufacturer to offer a preheat system for turbine engines, and the first manufacturer to meet the rigorous requirements for FAA Supplemental Type Certification (STC). Staying first means that Tanis will continue to be responsive to the changing needs of its customers as technology in the industry evolves. Doing this requires a staff of highly qualified and well-trained specialists. Douglas J. Evink is President and Chief Executive Officer, and holds a degree in Mechanical Engineering.