Beat the heat

Necessity is the mother of invention. Just ask Greg Turton, an Atlanta businessman who owns a Cirrus.

Often spending 30 minutes or more waiting to takeoff in the crowded Atlanta airspace, he realized he needed air conditioning. But at $25,000 to $30,000, it was just too expensive. “I wouldn’t pay that much for it,” he said during Sun ‘n Fun. “But I realized if I had this problem, everybody has it.”

He decided what was needed was a portable air conditioner for the cockpit that would run on 12 volts. The concept sprang to life after Turton had shoulder surgery. At the hospital, a device was attached to his shoulder that pumped cold water over the wound. Turton thought that he could use something similar for his portable air conditioner.

After eight prototypes, Turton devised a working unit that uses ice and water pumped over specially made coils, all contained in a Rubbermaid cooler. A fan blows the cold air into the cockpit, cooling it down in minutes.

“This is not a swamp cooler, which puts humidity into the air,” Turton noted. “This decreases the humidity.”

The air conditioners, dubbed Arctic Air, come in different sizes. The smallest holds 24 quarts of ice, the middle-sized unit holds 34 quarts, and the large unit holds 48 quarts of ice. The amount of ice is directly proportionate to how long the unit will produce cold air. The largest unit will last for up to six hours, Turton noted.

All the units use a fan from the telecommunications industry that does not interfere with the radios, according to Turton. “The fan is very strong and produces 190 cubic feet of air per minute,” he said. “At this rate it turns over the air in many cockpits in about one to two minutes.”

The units can be installed and removed within 30 seconds. “At times you may need to remove the unit so the plane will remain within its weight limit,” he said. “These units give you that option.”

The units are also maintenance free, Turton added. “You just have to add ice, water and plug it in,” he said. “With Arctic Air, you are ready to fly in comfort.”

Prices for the portable air conditioners range from $475 to $575.

For more information: 229-271-7925.

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