Cessna's Caravan family is set for a major upgrade with the introduction from March next year of the Garmin G1000 integrated flightdeck and a TKS weeping wing anti-icing system as standard on the single-engined turboprop.

The move by the US airframer is designed to boost the appeal and performance of the Caravan in the increasingly competitive turbine single and entry-level business aircraft markets. The Caravan's new flightdeck also completes the glass cockpit offering across Cessna's aircraft range, but it will not be available as a retrofit for the time being, Cessna says.

The anti-icing system has been introduced because of safety concerns raised by a number of crashes in icing conditions. Built by Salina, Kansas-based Aerospace Systems & Technologies, the TKS system increases by 90kg (200lb) the Caravan's payload and boosts the aircraft's anti-icing endurance to more than 3h with a full tank.

The system includes laser-drilled titanium TKS panels installed on the leading edges of the wings, wing struts and horizontal and vertical stabilisers. A sling ring protects the propeller blades, while a windshield spray bar removes the need for a windshield heater. The modification also removes the de-icer boots on the landing-gear legs and forward belly cargo pod.

Source: Flight International