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Guide to Preheating Aircraft Engines and Preheat Products

Guide to Preheating Aircraft Engines and Preheat Products

Why Preheat an Aircraft Engine?

Aircraft engines need to preheat in cold weather. Did you know that starting a cold engine can cause the equivalent of 500 hours of wear and tear (Plane & Pilot Magazine)?

Tanis Aircraft Products is the leading manufacturer of aircraft engine preheat systems. Tanis Aircraft started business in 1974, we were the first to develop aircraft engine preheat systems for piston engines, first to offer helicopter preheat, first to offer turbine preheat, and the first to meet the rigorous requirements for FAA Supplemental Type Certification.

What are some of the other benefits of preheating? When and how should you safely preheat? We've compiled the following resources to answer all your preheat questions.

helicoper over cold crater

Benefits of Aircraft Preheat

  • Reduce engine wear/ increase engine life
  • Ease of starting / reduce the chance of frosting spark plugs
  • Reduce the run up time during cold weather operations / save fuel
  • Prevent cylinder scoring
  • Ensure proper oil flow
  • Increase safety
  • Engine manufacturers mandate preheating
  • Decreased crankcase clearances - The engine crankcase is made of aluminum, engine rotating parts are made of steel, due to the coefficient of thermal expansion, the aluminum crankcase shrinks more than the steel parts within it.

When to Preheat?

  • POH/AFM for cold weather operation specific to your aircraft
  • If engine does not start during the first few attempts, or if the engine firing diminishes in strength, it is possible that the spark plugs have been frosted over.  Preheat must be used before another start is attempted.
  • Turbine aircraft, helicopters and diesel engines can have torque oscillation issues that cause a lot of wear.
  • When ambient temperatures are freezing or below (or some manufacturers suggest forty degrees)
  • Tanis actually assisted Lycoming in writing their service bulletin – particularly the section on engine mounted preheat systems.
  • Tanis is a multipoint system, with redundancy.

What/Why/How of Preheat (Video)

Other questions answered in this video:

  • How long does it take to preheat?
  • How hot does the engine get using Tanis Preheat?
  • Can I leave a Tanis Preheat System plugged in all the time?
  • Does using engine preheat cause moisture that will result in corrosion?
  • Is an STC required?
  • How long does it take to install at Tanis preheat system?

FAQ

CAN I LEAVE A TANIS PREHEAT SYSTEM PLUGGED IN ALL THE TIME?

Yes, Tanis preheat systems can be plugged in continuously in ambient temperatures less than 100F/38C.

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO PREHEAT?

Tanis preheat systems are designed so you will achieve the maximum benefit from our system within 6 hours of use.  Most of our data logging results show a 40 to 50 degree F° increase (22.2 to 27.7 C°)within the first two hours of use. Refer to engine/aircraft documentation for minimum temperature required for starting.  The heating follows a “standard reducing curve” for the temperature rise of the engine.

WHEN IS ENGINE PREHEAT REQUIRED?

For cold weather operations, engine preheat is always required. Refer to the engine manufacturer’s recommendation and the POH/AFM specific to your aircraft.

“Preheating is required whenever the engine has been exposed to temperatures at or below 20F/-7C (wind chill factor) for 2 hours or more.”  Continental Service Information Letter No. SIL 03-1  or the Continental Standard Practice Maintenance Manual M-0.

“The use of preheat will ease startup during cold weather and is required when the engine has been allowed to drop to temps below -10F/-12C” Lycoming Service Instruction No. 1505.

Many of our customers preheat when the outside temperature drops below 50F/10C.

Preheat may be used at any temperature to reduce run-up times and starting wear but Tanis does not recommend preheating when the ambient temperatures exceed 100F/38C.

HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE TO INSTALL A TANIS PREHEAT KIT?

On a GA aircraft once the cowl is removed, it may take 2-5 man hours for completion per engine. Pad heat elements require curing before the aircraft can return to service.

For helicopter and complete aircraft installs the time is variable based on the status of the aircraft and type of aircraft. Contact us for additional help.

WILL THE TANIS PREHEAT SYSTEM WORK WITH AN ENGINE ANALYZER?

YES!!! Current Tanis systems use elements that are compatible with all engine analyzers/monitors. Our standard and STC systems do not use the CHT (Cylinder Head Temperature) thermocouple well. Instead of using the CHT well we use a bolt/screw element that can replace a rocker cover, baffle pad, or intake bolt/screw.  See instruction TN02771 for more information. Legacy (Old) systems and kits may still use CHT well elements.

Our Products

Turbine engine

Turbine Preheat

Tanis Aircraft Products has wide range of piston engine preheat products.  We have kits for engines from manufacturers like Austro, Continental, Franklin, Jabiru, Jacobs, Lycoming, Rotax, and more. All of us at Tanis truly care about your aircraft’s longevity, your safety, and your ability to get to your destination despite the cold weather.

EC 145 T2 helicopter

Rotor Wing Preheat

Tanis Aircraft products offers Rotor Wing Preheat systems/kits. We have complete systems for most Helicopter manufactures including AgustaWestland, Airbus, Bell, Enstrom, Erickson, Hélicoptères Guimbal, MDHI, Robinson, and Sikorsky. We work closely with all Helicopter manufactures and maintenance professionals to have manufacture approved installations when ever possible.

Piston engine image

Piston Preheat

Tanis Aircraft Products has wide range of piston engine preheat products.  We have kits for engines from manufacturers like Austro, Continental, Franklin, Jabiru, Jacobs, Lycoming, Rotax, and more. All of us at Tanis truly care about your aircraft’s longevity, your safety, and your ability to get to your destination despite the cold weather.

Hear From Our Clients

"Everything Tanis was absolutely fabulous on my flight (www.polarflight90.com ) from Alaska to the North Pole. From the engine preheat system, to the battery preheat system, to the cowl-prop-blade covers, to the “toaster cover” for my Honda generator; I could not have been more pleased! I am very grateful. Many many thanks!"

ART MORTVEDT, 2013 POLAR FLIGHT 90

"The best-known multipoint electric preheating systems come from Tanis Aircraft. We do not recommend cheaper electric systems that heat only the oil pan. As you now know, heating the cylinders and case is absolutely essential. Read the entire article at www.avweb.com"

MIKE BUSCH, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF OF AVWEB

"I have over 20 years of experience with Tanis engine heaters and have had 100% reliability with your equipment. Furthermore, I have not experienced any problems associated with cold weather operation and I strongly recommend to all aircraft owners that they consider using your products.

I was fortunate to have a strong tailwind that assisted me in reaching the airport with a non-event landing. My mechanic said the engine failure problem was caused by lack of lubricating oil due to improper preheating. This engine had just 380 hours since overhaul. During engine rebuild my mechanic insisted that I install a preheating system and recommended the Tanis brand. I followed his recommendation and have been extremely pleased with the Tanis heater.

This failure happened to me back in the mid 1980s and I have installed Tanis heaters on each aircraft owned thereafter. I currently use the Tanis TAS 100 on my IO-360. I use this system from Fall to Spring, which is generally October to April. The Tanis heater is very economical to use, so I keep it plugged in 24/7. My electric bill cost to keep my engine properly heated in an unheated hangar is approximately just $12.60 month. I now have the piece of mind that my engine is properly heated and ready for operation."

JERRY BROWN, FLYING ADVENTURES MAGAZINE

Brian Barber of Polaris Industries Talks Aircraft Preheat in Minnesota

Compatible Engine Manufacturers

Reiff

EZ Heat

Safe Heat

Aerotherm

Hornet

Aircraftheaters
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Herman Nelson

Red Dragon

Only a preheat system from Tanis will thoroughly heat-soak your engine!

Learn why our system is the best way to preheat your aircraft engine.


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