FAA STCs Hawker 800 winglet mod

 - July 25, 2007, 10:15 AM

It took a couple of years longer than expected, but operators of the Hawker 800 might find the wait has been worthwhile. After three years of work, Aviation Partners last month finally obtained an STC for its performance-enhancing blended winglets for the Hawker 800 series. The company attributed the delay to Raytheon Aircraft’s refusal to provide certain baseline data (requiring Aviation Partners to redevelop the data in-house) and FAR changes making FAA supplemental type certification procedures more stringent.

The Hawker winglet ended up costing Aviation Partners some six times more to certify than the company’s first business jet winglet for the Gulfstream II, according to CEO Joe Clark. With certification issues behind it, the Seattle-based company is now eager and ready to begin installations.

Aviation Partners said that modified Hawkers, dubbed 800SPs, will fly 30 minutes longer, or 180 nm farther (up to 2,690 nm), 18 knots faster and boast an initial cruise altitude 2,000 feet higher than that of a standard Hawker 800. “With the ability to climb to higher initial cruise altitudes, step climbs can be omitted from many mission profiles,” claimed sales director Gary Dunn. “For a takeoff-weight-limited, high-altitude airport and a hot day, 800SP operators will be able to depart with up to 1,800 pounds more.”

Installed price of the winglets is $395,000. At press time Aviation Partners was in the process of selecting half a dozen authorized installation centers. There are currently more than 600 Hawker 800-series aircraft in service worldwide.
And more than 420 of these will get winglets if Aviation Partners achieves the same 70 percent of the market it captured with the blended winglets for the Gulfstream II.

Meanwhile, the company in the next 30 to 60 days expects to receive an STC for the winglet installation on Hawker 800XPs, structurally the same airplane as other 800 models. Aviation Partners will follow that approval with application for European Aviation Safety Agency certification, qualifying winglet-equipped Hawkers to be registered in all the European Union member nations. Clark said he “doesn’t anticipate any issues there.”

Aviation Partners, which pioneered blended winglets for business aviation on the GII more than 12 years ago, continues to explore the possibility of developing winglets for other business jets. But don’t expect any announcements soon for a new airframe project. Said Clark, somewhat jokingly, “We are trying to recover from the wounds of this one first.”

There are some “very good candidates though,” Clark told AIN. “We actually have about five airplanes that we are looking at, and we plan on prototyping a few. One would probably be in the Citation family, but we really haven’t narrowed it down to which one.” Clark also believes Falcons are “excellent candidates for winglets because they have a lower-aspect-ratio wing.”

Despite the proliferation of Aviation Partners winglets–first as a retrofit on the GII, then as standard equipment on the Boeing Business Jet, followed by the airliner versions of the Boeing 737 and now as a retrofit for Hawker 800–some OEMs and operators remain skeptical. That doesn’t phase Clark.

“What I tell people is it’s really simple, “ he said. “We’ll take an airplane and build a set of prototype winglets, fly them and you be the judge. The beauty of our technology,” Clark maintains, “is it’s so easy to find out if it works. It doesn’t cost a lot of money.” What costs a lot of money is “certifying it.”

Aviation Partners will not have an 800SP on static display at Henderson Executive Airport in Las Vegas at this month’s NBAA Convention, but instead will showcase its winglet technology at a booth in the indoor exhibit area for the first time. “We can shuttle people to an available customer aircraft if they need to see it,” Clark said.