Summertime and the living is easy, at least according to George Gershwin, but the flying is hot. But who wants to spend the equivalent of a major panel upgrade – and then some – for a problem that is seasonal? That’s why Sporty’s offers Arctic Air, a portable air conditioning unit for airplanes.
The air conditioning system works by blowing ambient air across a coil cooled by ice. The cool air is blown into the cockpit, providing a comfortable air temperature even in the hot summer sun and without adding humidity, according to company officials. There is no contact between the ice and the recirculating air; it is cooled through the heat exchanger.
“The Arctic Air won’t win any aesthetic design award, but it works!” says Sporty’s Vice President John Zimmerman. “In our tests, the ‘high’ setting lowered the temperature of an aircraft interior by 35°.”
To get and stay cool, place the unit in the airplane (on a seat or in the baggage compartment), fill it up with ice and plug it into the cigarette lighter. The cigarette lighter adapter cord is 7.5 ft. The unit operates on two settings – high and low – and will provide approximately three hours of comfort on the low setting.
Since the Arctic Air is portable, no STC is required. The unit’s fan does not interfere with the radios, and there is no compressor so the unit draws less than 5 amps, Sporty’s officials add. Upon landing, a drainage tube allows you to leave the Arctic Air in the airplane and empty the water out onto the ground. When not in use the unit can be left in the hangar (or the trunk of your car).
There is also a new smaller size Arctic Air Conditioner that fits behind the pilot’s seat in a Cirrus or Skylane. It provides just enough cooling capacity to get you in the air and on your way without the bulk of bigger units, officials note.
The latest models are improved with a new custom case and protected coils for a longer life. Multiple models of the Arctic Air are available, including 12 volt and 24 volt, single or dual fans, and small and large sizes. The average weight of the Arctic Air is 10 pounds when empty and 50 pounds when filled with ice and water. Prices for the Arctic Air range from $495 to $630. The entire line can be viewed at Sportys.com/ArcticAir