Hi-Mach winglets dig deeper into drag rise

 - November 8, 2006, 4:48 AM

Aviation Partners (Booth No. 876) is expanding its reach in the winglet modification market with new Hi-Mach Super Critical winglets optimized for the high-speed cruise regime. To date, the company’s Blended Winglets have helped operators enjoy lower fuel burn, higher initial climb altitudes and longer range while flying at long-range cruise speeds. The new Hi-Mach winglets have the same effect, but at Mach 0.80 and above.

Aviation Partners engineers used computational fluid dynamics tools to design winglets that help improve efficiency “deeper into the drag rise,” said Joe Clark, CEO. Drag rises steeply at higher speeds, and at 30 to 40 percent of the maximum drag rise, traditional winglets don’t offer the benefits available at lower speeds. The Hi-Mach winglets can improve range by as much as 5 percent at high-speed cruise or 8 percent at long-range cruise.

“This is just a test winglet,” Clark said. “It’s a flight test program to prove a new technology. There are no [specific] aircraft types identified at this point, but they can fit on just about any airplane. We’ve taken our computational fluid dynamics to new heights on this supercritical winglet and we’ve been able to extend benefits way farther into the drag rise than we thought possible.” Although Aviation Partners has not yet started a certification program for the Hi-Mach winglets, Clark said the rough cost of the winglets for a large jet would be about $500,000.

Raytheon Hawker 800SP and 800XP operators have purchased about 60 sets of the $425,000 (installed) Aviation Partners winglets optimized for long-range cruise. Performance improvements on the Hawker include 7-percent lower fuel burn, 180-nm range increase, 18-knot increase in speed and 2,000-foot higher initial cruise altitude.