TKS (Aircraft De-icing) Ltd. was originally formed by three companies, each having a specific expertise and each contributing a letter to the TKS moniker we know today:
T – Tecalemit, Ltd. manufactured metering pumps for multi-point lubrication systems. The company designed and produced multi-outlet (6, 10 or 12 outlets depending on the aircraft) metering pumps and filters for the system.
K – Kilfrost, Ltd. specialized in de-icing chemicals and was the primary protagonist for the system in the early stages.
S – Sheepbridge Stokes, Ltd. produced the newly invented sintered powder metal components. The company manufactured the tubes called de-icing strips.
1940s - TKS (Aircraft De-icing) Ltd. was established in 1942 when Kilfrost succeeded in getting the attention of the appropriate government ministry with the concept that fluid de-icing could provide a much needed solution for protecting RAF bombers. Pneumatic boot de-icers were available at the time and used by the U.S. Air Force on aircraft such as the B-17, but they had a problem that precluded their use.
While U.S. bombers carried out their bombing missions from 20,000 feet, RAF bombers were designed for low-level operations to obtain better accuracy. However, these pilots often flew sorties at altitudes where enemy barrage balloons were an effective deterrent.
This threat was largely negated by fitting the wings of the aircraft with armored leading edges that incorporated notches with explosive cable cutters at several places along the span. But there was an issue—the pneumatic boots or then-popular Dunlop fabric fluid distributors prevented the balloon cables from sliding along the leading edge and into the cable cutters.
The solution was provided by TKS in the form of a fluid de-icing system compatible with the armored leading edges. The first systems were crude, porous channel systems partly made from porous, powdered metal. The system came into production late in the European war and was installed on aircraft such as Handley Page Halifax, Avro Lincoln and Vickers Wellington bombers.
After the war, the TKS strip system was widely used in the U.K. on the civil derivatives of these aircraft (e.g. Handley Page Hastings, Avro York, Avro Tudor, etc.) together with new designs including De Havilland Dove, Vickers Viking, Vickers Valetta, Vickers Wellington, Bristol Freighter, etc. The Avro Shackleton (Mks I and II) was one of the longest surviving products to use the strip system.
1950s - TKS evolved when de-icing panels were introduced. The original panels were made from sintered powder metal sheet and initially flight tested on the horizontal stabilizer of a BEA Vickers Viking where improved effectiveness was clearly demonstrated. The Scottish Aviation Twin Pioneer and versions of the Avro Shackleton (Mks III) were fitted with sintered powder panels.
The sintered powder panels proved to be prone to cracking, and the porous powder sheet was replaced by “Rigidmesh” as soon as it appeared on the market. Rigidmesh is made from layers (usually three) of woven stainless steel cloth that are first rolled then sintered to form a porous sheet, having far superior mechanical properties to sintered powder.
1960s - The next milestone came in the 1960s with the arrival of business jets, in particular the de Havilland 125. The original Bristol Siddeley Viper turbojet engine had no bleed air for thermal anti-ice, and pneumatic boots were considered aerodynamically unacceptable. At the time, the only fluid de-icing equipment that existed was the first generation strip system design from the 1940s.
De Havilland selected TKS, which presented the opportunity for the company to make a system updated and tested to what were then modern standards. Systems for several European aircraft types were designed and produced over the next decade including those for the Shorts Skyvan, LET L410, Aerospatiale Corvette, VFW 614 and the Westland Sea King.
1970s - TKS became involved with McDonell Douglas in producing an ice and insect contamination system for the NASA Jetstar Laminar Flow Flight Test. The testing led to the idea of using laser-perforated skins for ice protection.
1980s - TKS evolved further when laser-drilled titanium panels were introduced. The Cessna S550 Citation S/II and the T47A were the first application of the titanium panel build that is still used today.
1990 - Aerospace Systems & Technologies (AS&T) acquired TKS and started building the leading edge structures of the TKS Ice Protection system. AS&T was formed to take over the design, testing, certification, sales and distribution duties of TKS Ice Protection Systems in the United States.
Beginning in January 1990, Jordan-Hawley Engineering, Inc. performed those functions along with their other business, which included engineering consulting services and computer software development for aircraft simulators and autopilots.
1992 - AS&T acquired Jordan-Hawley Engineering, Inc. and the focus shifted to ice protection.
1994 - Moved U.K. headquarters and manufacturing facility from Annefield Plain Industrial Park to a new, larger location in Consett, County Durham, England.
1995 - Designed and supported certification for Mooney M20 FIKI.
1998 - Supported Cessna 210 FIKI certification for Air Net II, formerly Flight Ice.
1999 - Supported Beechcraft Baron FIKI certification for Air Net II, formerly Flight Ice.
2003 - Designed and certified Beechcraft Bonanza STC.
2004 - Designed and supported certification for Cirrus SR22.
2004 - Designed and supported certification for Diamond DA42 FIKI.
2005 - Following the merger of two sister companies, AS&T changed its name to CAV Aerospace.
2008 - Designed and supported certification for Cirrus Aircraft SR22 FIKI.
2009 - Designed and supported certification for Cessna Grand Caravan FIKI.
2010 - Designed and supported certification for Quest KODIAK FIKI.
2012 - Designed and supported certification for Cessna T240 (TTx) FIKI.
2013 - Moved North American operations center from Salina, Kansas to New Century, Kansas (KIXD).
2014 - Received FAA approval to operate a repair station at the New Century facility. The limited accessory repair station is approved to repair and overhaul TKS Ice Protection equipment.
2015 - CAV Aerospace changes its name to CAV Ice Protection.
2016 - Designed and supported certification for Diamond DA62 FIKI.
2017 - Mooney selects TKS Ice Protection System for M20 Ultra Series.