Upcycling School Winglets: How They're Improving Efficiency of Modern Jets

Upcycling School Winglets: How They're Improving Efficiency of Modern Jets
Courtesy of JetPhotos 

As a result of the winglets, the jets will have an extended range, which will enable them to carry out many flights without the need to refuel.

In the history of aerodynamics, it is important to note that since Frederick W. Lanchester patented the winglet in 1897, the laws of aerodynamics have not changed. This is why planes equipped with the aero feature are able to climb higher and faster, thereby reaching higher altitudes where there is thinner air, which makes it more fuel efficient to fly.

It is also possible to accomplish a number of flights without the need for refueling because of the extended range of the aircraft. There are, however, not all private jets that are designed with winglets, which has created a cottage industry for retrofitters to add winglets to older aircraft, which has created a cottage industry for retrofitters. 

In order to fulfill this requirement, the FAA requires structural testing and issues supplemental type certificates for modified aircraft to be issued. 

In addition, there is a boom in the retrofit market. “We saw unprecedented demand during the pandemic because a lot of the new entries into private aviation buy used aircraft first,” explains Gary Dunn, president of Aviation Partners, Inc., a company that has retrofitted over 10,000 aircraft with Blended Winglets since 2003.

According to Rich Report, the aerodynamic accent is only associated with a few drawbacks, such as an increased weight caused by reinforcing the longer wing, downtime that can last for two to five weeks, and cost, which can range from $250,000 to $600,000.

Aviation Partners Falcon 50 N789JC. Courtesy of Aviation Partners

It has been claimed that Tamarack Aerospace Group's Performance Smartwing will provide up to 33 percent greater energy efficiency on the Cessna Citation CJ series aircraft when installed under optimal conditions. In order to reduce the turbulence on board, an active flap has been incorporated into the design of the aircraft that reacts within fractions of a second to turbulence in order to smooth out the ride for the passengers.

As a demonstration of the Smartwing's potential, Tamarack plans to set “as many point-to-point records as we can,” according to the company's president Jacob Klinginsmith, citing the recent record that its Beechcraft King Air 350 made from Spokane, Wash., to Orlando, Fla., followed by a second flight from Orlando to the suburbs of Las Vegas.

Despite Tamarack's belief that there is a sizable retrofit market for King Air 200 and 350 aircraft, it has its sights set on a much larger target—the Airbus A320 narrow body plane. He states that a prototype prototype for the A320 winglet program could be ready in seven months, though the company is still working on details related to the demonstrator, according to Klinginsmith.

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