Tamarack Wingletted CitationJet Goes the Distance

 - June 6, 2013, 3:40 PM
Tamarack Aerospace lead mechanic and pilot Steve Babin and Tamarack’s active technology load alleviation system (Atlas) winglet-equipped Cessna CitationJet, which made an unofficial distance record-breaking trip from Sandpoint, Idaho, to Westchester County Airport in White Plains, N.Y., on June 4. (Photo: R. Randall Padfield)

A Cessna CitationJet equipped with Tamarack Aerospace’s active winglets made an unofficial record-breaking trip from Sandpoint, Idaho, to Westchester County Airport in White Plains, N.Y., on Tuesday night. The Tamarack CJ (N86LA) is on display at today’s NBAA Business Aviation Regional Forum at Westchester County Airport in White Plains. The nonstop 1,853-nm flight landed with reserves of 472 pounds after flying for six hours and 16 minutes.

Tamarack’s CJ is equipped with its active technology load alleviation system (Atlas) active winglets, which employ a Tamarack active control surface actuator mounted near each winglet. 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 providing more efficient flight characteristics.

Tamarack is taking orders for the Atlas modification and plans to certify it on CJ 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.


When I do the math, 1,853 nm divided by 6 hrs. 10 min., I get 300.5 knots. On an eastbound flight, is this fast? I would have expected higher.

Lynn, winglets don’t make airplanes fly faster. Rather, they allow them to fly farther by increasing aircraft efficiency. A stock CitationJet has a range of 1,300 nm. The Tamarack CJ with the active winglets flew 1,853 nm, a 42-percent increase in range from an unmodified CJ, and still had a decent fuel reserve left over. That’s what you’re missing here.

Yep, the article left out that. I presumed it was a speed record, not a range/fuel economy record. The reason I ask. Thank you.

Did it fly at half throttle? 300kts going with the jet stream is hardly a record pace. Am I missing something? This doesn't sound too exciting. They added two feet to the wing span. How much did that cost? Hmmm airlinerfor $150 or a citation for neary $5000.....?

Steve, it’s not just adding two feet to the wingspan. The mod adds a winglet and an active control system to reduce loads so that the wing doesn’t need to be strengthened to handle the extra lift loads. You can click on the link in this story to read a previous story that describes the Tamarack system in more detail.


re: private flight versus airline. There’s a reason why those who can afford to fly private do – they fly on their own schedule, nonstop and in their own space. On the airlines, you’re forced to fly on their schedule, often make connections through a busy hub airport and be crammed in an aluminum tub with 150 of your not-so-closest “friends,” not to mention suffer delays and subsequent missed flights at hubs. Airline cancellations are also quite common nowadays, too, and then there’s the ambivalent onboard service, nickel-and-dime fees for baggage, food, etc. and people hitting you in the head with their heavy carry-ons that are too big for the overhead compartments. The real question is: why wouldn’t you fly private if you could afford it?

That is about as exciting as a NASCAR fuel milage race. Who stays out of the gas the most wins. My first chief pilot long ago told me "We didn't buy jets to go slow" as he pushed the throttles back up after I had pulled them back to LRC. There is also no reason to be cooped up in a CJ for 6+ hours. Get the right tool for the job. This is forcing a square peg in a round hole.

The town is Sandpoint (not Sand Point), and it's gorgeous. I wonder why they chose there to start from, but that is awesome.

Thanks for the correction, Brian. Tamarack Aerospace is located in Sandpoint, thus the starting point for the distance record flight.

I do not question that the CitationJet set a speed record from Sandpoint to White Plains but the flight was described as "Record Breaking". Please tell us whose record was broken. The NAA Records Database does not show a record on that route, that I could find. It is too soon for the CitationJet to be shown in the database, therefore the old record would still be shown.

The record that the Tamarack team broke (unofficially) is for distance in the 3,000 to 6,000 kilogram maximum takeoff weight class, which was set in 2006 at 1,805 nm. The Tamarack CJ flew 1,853 nm. They were unable to make all the arrangements to carry an observer and meet the requirements to officially document the record during the flight from Sandpoint to White Plains.

Unofficial Records don't mean anything unless touted in a small, localized group. They certainly don't warrant a headline in AIN Online.

As far as observers, the way it has been in the past, if the plane has ACARS, a print-out suffices. If no ACARS, a letter from the ATC facilities that controlled the flight, one from the ARTC working the plane on departure and one from the tower at White Plains, work just fine. I have set a two records in that manner and another with two towers (departure and arrival).

Normally a Sanction is not required for a U.S. Record but would be if they wanted it to be a World Record. In other words, it probably could have been, and may still be eligible for a U.S. Record if they want to make the effort to do it "Officially".

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