Winglets available for Citation X

 - September 29, 2009, 6:50 AM

Cessna Aircraft in late August delivered the first Citation X retrofitted with elliptical winglets made by Wichita-based Winglet Technology. The winglets were installed at Cessna’s Wichita Citation Service Center under Winglet Technology’s FAA STC.

Cessna and Winglet Technology in March 2007 decided to “evaluate” Citation applications for the patented elliptical winglet, and officially launched the Citation X winglet program at the 2007 NBAA Convention. During the show, on Sept. 25, 2007, the first Citation X outfitted with the winglets achieved first flight, beginning the nearly two-year certification program.

According to Cessna, the winglets optimize lift distribution, which reduces drag and thereby decreases fuel consumption and increases speed and range. Data from Winglet Technology indicates that the winglets reduce fuel consumption by 4 to 5 percent, and increase speed at altitude by 15 knots and range by 150 nm, to 3,220 nm.

The winglet retrofit kit, which costs $415,000, includes flight and operations manual supplements and replaces the existing anti-collision and position light system with LED versions. Cessna said winglet installation, which includes structural modification of the Citation X wing, costs $178,000 and takes about four weeks. Plans are now under way to offer retrofit installation of the elliptical winglet STC on the Citation X at all nine Citation Service Centers in the U.S. and Europe.

A Cessna spokeswoman said that the winglets “are a retrofit only at this time,” but then again she didn’t rule them out for production Citation Xs, either. The Wichita aircraft manufacturer has long harbored ambitions for winglet-equipped production Citation Xs. In mid-2003, Cessna submitted an application with the FAA for certification of winglets for new Citation Xs, starting with S/N 222. But in October that year Cessna told AIN that it scrapped those plans, saying there wasn’t a strong enough business case to continue. If the business case has indeed changed, Cessna might have more to say about this at the NBAA show this month.