Active Winglets Help Tamarack CJ Set “Unofficial” Distance Record

 - July 1, 2013, 1:10 AM

Tamarack Aerospace’s Cessna CitationJet equipped with active winglet technology made an unofficial distance record-breaking trip from Sandpoint, Idaho, to Westchester County Airport in White Plains, N.Y., on the night of June 4. The journey was to display the winglet-equipped CJ at the NBAA Business Aviation Regional Forum in White Plains, N.Y.

The nonstop 1,853-nm flight burned 2,968 pounds of fuel, landing with reserves of 472 pounds (enough for more than 45 minutes’ flight time) after flying for six hours and 16 minutes. The highest altitude reached was 41,000 feet. The CJ experienced a slight tailwind during the flight, and block fuel burn was 479 pounds per hour. The official record–flown in 2006–for the CJ’s weight classification is 1,805 nm.

Tamarack’s CJ is equipped with the company’s active-technology load alleviation system (Atlas) active winglet system. Atlas employs a Tamarack active control surface (Tacs) actuator mounted near each winglet, and the actuator drives small moveable surfaces mounted outboard on the wing trailing edge, near the winglets, that move to counteract and alleviate the load on the wing. The result is a much lower bending moment on the wing, allowing addition of winglets without having to beef up wing structure and thus achieving more efficient flight characteristics.

“We’ve been planning this trip for a long time,” said Tamarack president Nick Guida. The company is taking orders for the Atlas modification and plans to certify it on all CitationJet models through the CJ3 in about a year. The CJ mod adds less than 50 pounds to the airframe and about two feet to each wing, but the more efficient wing allows carriage of one additional passenger with full fuel.

Tamarack’s CJ was flown by Guida and carried full fuel and three adult passengers and baggage, for a total payload of about 800 pounds. Maximum weight was just under 10,700 pounds, which is higher than this CJ’s normal 10,400-pound mtow. “We took off a little heavy,” said Guida, “but we were flying within the experimental operating procedures we have established with the FAA. Besides, being heavy made it more of an achievement. We were flying a CJ loaded like a CJ1+, but we climbed a lot faster and flew a lot farther than either one would normally go without active winglets. We had predicted that our active winglets could provide substantial improvements to the CitationJet in terms of range and endurance, so it’s not a surprise to us to see performance like this. But it’s definitely an accomplishment, and we are all proud of it.”

The CJ active winglet system will cost $196,000. Guida pointed out that CJ/CJ1 prices are about $1.5 million, less than half the cost of a $3 million-plus CJ2. “We just demonstrated a 2.3-percent increase in range over a CJ2,” he said. “With our active winglets we’ve taken a CJ and out-performed a CJ2, and we’ve saved about $1.5 million in the process.”