NBAA Convention News

Winglets improve local Hawkers

 - September 26, 2007, 11:27 AM

Local pilot Brian Ross is a big fan of Aviation Partners winglets after adding the efficiency-improving devices to all four of his employer’s Hawker Beechcraft Hawker 800s. Ross is director of operations for Coca-Cola Enterprises (CCE), the soft-drink distribution company that is partially owned by Coca-Cola. CCE’s Hawker 800s are hangared at a corporate facility at Fulton County Airport/Brown Field. Aviation Partners (Booth No. 1739) has delivered about 2,500 sets of winglets, about 2,000 of which are installed on airliners.

Having flown Hawkers for 25 years, Ross has logged plenty of before-and-after performance numbers. The winglets were installed on the CCE Hawkers earlier this year, and fuel savings are averaging 10 percent on the 800s and 8.5 percent on the 800XPs. The reduced fuel consumption is a result of the winglets enabling the Hawkers to climb directly to altitudes 3,000 to 4,000 feet higher than Hawkers not equipped with winglets.

Ross and the CCE pilots are able to climb directly to 37,000 feet, and longer-distance flights are now more achievable. For example, they can carry five to six passengers from Gander, Newfoundland, to London or Paris with plentiful reserves and no need to stop in Shannon, Ireland.

Before buying an all-Hawker fleet, CCE operated two Cessna Citation XLSs and two Hawker 800XPs. Instead of buying two more XPs, which have slightly more powerful engines than the 800, Ross crunched the numbers and found that he could buy two more 800s and add winglets and cosmetic improvements for about $6 million each, about $3.5 million less than what it would cost to buy a used 800XP without winglets.

For CCE, the return on investment, including the increase in resale value from adding the Aviation Partners winglets, will come in about three years and 10 months. Ross calculates the improvement in resale value at about 50 percent of the $438,000 installed cost of the winglets. 

The winglets increase total wingspan by four feet and cut a small amount off the end of each aileron and eliminate the Hawker wing fences. Ross and the CCE pilots say that the 800 lifts off more smoothly during takeoff, instead of needing to be jerked off the runway with a pull on the yoke.

The Aviation Partners winglets also include LED navigation lights, which last much longer than the incandescent lights they replace.