Commander 112/114/115 Product Reviews


SureStart Pro Engine Pre-heater and Xantrex PowerPack 400 Plus Aux Power

Review submitted by Glenn Mores, 11/04

I picked up the SureStart Pro preheater as Iíll often fly in to uncontrolled fields in the winter in both Connecticut and Maine. Usually these fields donít have an FBO or itís closed long before I have to leave.

The preheater uses propane for fuel and is built into a metal tool box. Thereís a 12v fan, a cord (I added a longer cord), a small hose and connector for the propane, and a 4Ē opening on the right side for the orange output ducting. Thereís room in the box to store two bottles of propane Ė thatís enough for at least 10-15 preheat operations. Itís the normal small bottles of propane you can get in any hardware store for a few dollars. Total weight with a couple of bottle included is about 15 lbs.

Use is pretty simple (see picture 3); take out the bottles, raise an inner hinged shelf that has a cutout to keep a propane bottle upright, plug in the power to a normal cigarette lighter outlet, hook up the outlet tubing, turn on the fan, turn on the propane, and press the igniter. Thereís a small regulator to keep the temperature in the 300-350 range. I simply position the output up in the front gear well where it heats the oil pan. I put cowl plugs in to trap a bit more of the heat. 10-15 minutes is usually plenty and youíll see movement of the oil temperature gauge from the cockpit.

While you could theoretically power this from the 12v plug in the cockpit, there isnít usually extra voltage to spare in the winter, so I purchased a separate portable power source that I carry along with me. As a plus the Xantrex has a built-in air pump for the tires, a 120 volt AC inverter, and enough juice to start the plane with a weak battery.

Costs: SureStart Preheater: $475, Xantrex PowerPack 400 Plus: $100, Jumper Plug: $45


SureStart Pro Ė www.surestart-preheaters.com

Xantrex Powerpack 400 Plus Ė www.xantrex.com

Jumper Plug Ė www.aircraftspruce.com


Would Buy Again? Yes.

All the pieces - really just 3 items. I keep the power cord in a small tool box I keep in the plane

I added a longer 12V cord just for convenience

Setup takes less than a minute once you've done it a few times


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