Tools & Toys – Kennon cabin cover

Aircraft cover can be lifesaver

The flight line at Senai airport, Malaysia.

Covered and uncovered aircraft on the flight line at Senai airport, Malaysia. Picture copyright: Paul Jansen 2012.

By Paul Jansen

Continued… After more than a year of use, I can vouch for the heat protection and waterproof qualities of the cover.

I have waited out fierce tropical thunderstorms at various aerodromes, watching 9M-PRJ parked in the open doused by a waterfall of rain. Before I bought the Kennon cover, I would invariably find some water in the cockpit and cargo. Even after I changed the door seals. Not anymore.

Peace of mind is nice. So too is the dramatic reduction in discomfort when getting into the cockpit on a steamy day. And steamy days are the norm in Singapore,  Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia where I roam. With the sun roasting the air to a sweltering 30 degrees Celsius and humidity hovering around 70 percent, the single door to a Piper cockpit is a major disadvantage. The reflective surface of the cover deflects a lot of the heat.

Kennon Sun Shields

Kennon Sun Shields stay up without need for any fastener or Velcro. Picture copyright: Paul Jansen 2012.

For short stops, putting on and pulling off the Kennon cover may be a chore. Here’s where I use the Kennon Sun Shields. They wedge neatly into the window molding and stay in place without external aids. Kennon claims the aluminium surface of the shields reflect 97 percent of the sun’s heat-producing infrared rays back out. Since infrared rays are absorbed only by opaque materials, like seats, they pass right back through the acrylic windows.

I cannot vouch for the percentages, but I and my friends who fly with me, like Captains Anthony Cheong and Roger Lee, can testify to the immediate relief we get as soon as we slip the shields in place after parking and shutting down. As every pilot knows, you need to stay in the plane to do some housekeeping after landing. Being able to slip the shields between us and the sun in the meantime has made things considerably more pleasant for me and my friends.

I can now remain in the pilot’s seat after my flight and take my time filling out the Tech Log and my Log Book. Previously, shortly after shutting down, I would practically leap out and head for the nearest shade to do these.

Kennon also conveniently labels every shield so that you know exactly which window it is for. The only – and minor – issue is my Piper’s windshield sun shades tend to get in the way when I am trying to slot in the pilot’s and co-pilot’s Sun Shields in place. But that is no fault of Kennon’s. My set of eight pieces cost US$195.

Cowl and air intake plugs

Bright red cowl and intake plugs round off basic protection for 9M-PRJ from the elements and nesters. Picture copyright: Paul Jansen 2012.

While placing the order for the Kennon cabin cover and Sun Shields, I decided to add a cowl plug with tail number (US$95) and air intake plug (US$25) to the list. These keep the rain away and also birds and large insects out. This is important for me as I fly just once or twice a week, leaving the plane to their mercy the rest of the time. With the cover and plugs, I feel more secure.

The advantages of a cabin cover, sun shields and plugs seem obvious to me. Not just in terms of comfort but also safety. This leaves me puzzled why more of my fellow owners have not bought them.

Kennon sun shields deflect the sun's rays

Kennon sun shields deflect the sun’s rays away from the cabin. Picture copyright: Paul Jansen 2012.

Fatigue and distractions can cause pilot error. To me, the cabin cover, sun shields and plugs are extending the life span of my plane, but the mental and physical comfort resulting from my use of them is doing nothing short of protecting my own life span as well.

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Copyrght: Paul Jansen 2012. All rights reserved.

NEXT: A Smith and Wesson to dispel the gloom

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