A little more than a year since achieving its first approval for its Atlas active winglets on Cessna Citation 525 business jets, Tamarack Aerospace Group is rapidly closing in the next round of approvals, expanding the number applications, releasing performance planning data, and looking at new technologies that will push into commercial and military markets.
The Sandpoint, Idaho-based company, which returns to the Singapore Airshow exhibiting at the Idaho Department of Commerce stand (P95), in late December 2016 received its first approvals for the Atlas system that include a wingtip extension and winglet, as well as a built-in load alleviation device called Tacs (Tamarack Active Camber Surface). Tacs is designed to counteract and alleviate gust loads and maneuver loads, eliminating the need for structural reinforcement of the wing.
The initial approvals covered the Cessna Citation 525 series, including the CJ, CJ1, CJ1+ and M2 business jets. More recently, Tamarack secured U.S. FAA, Brazilian ANAC, and European Aviation Safety Agency approvals for a new aircraft flight manual supplement (AFMS) that outlines benefits for 525-series aircraft equipped with the Atlas.
The AMFS and maintenance manual changes include a maximum zero fuel weight increase of 400 pounds; 8 to 15 percent increased climb gradient; a 600-pound higher mtow, on average, across hot/high tables; steep approach capability for authorized operators; wing fatigue life matching that of an unmodified aircraft; “on condition” maintenance of key Atlas components; and no altitude restriction for an inoperative yaw damper.
“Regulatory approval of this new performance data proves what our existing owners have known since their installs,” said Tamarack Aerospace founder and CEO Nick Guida. “Active winglets on the C525 dramatically enhance the performance of the aircraft. With Atlas you can climb faster, fly farther, and burn less fuel.”
Performance Data Upgrades
Tamarack this quarter is working with flight-planning vendors to get updated data into flight-planning tools. The data is now available on the Tamarack website, the company said, and added it is being incorporated into ForeFlight and other flight-planning apps.
“Beyond range and time-to-climb, owners will also see the other benefits of Tamarack’s active winglets, such as stability and improved hot/high performance, aesthetics, and value retention,” said company president Justin Ryan. “This approved AFMS will now also allow commercial CJ operators to get the full benefits of their active winglets on a day-to-day operational basis, and additionally will be supplemented by cruise performance tables, which clearly show the performance advantages.”
The company has further emphasized that by eliminating structural reinforcement, the Tamarack winglet “dramatically reduces,” installation time. The company recently expanded its installation capabilities at the Sandpoint factory to keep up with the steady stream of business that has resulted from the approvals, said Paul Hathaway, vice president of marketing. For the first quarter of this year, Tamarack is targeting reducing downtime to one week with an extra day or two for paint, Hathaway said. Tamarack has been promoting free installation with purchase of winglets, he noted, adding, “We’ve had strong interest in that.”
While the company builds up its business on the 525 series, Tamarack is working toward its next approvals on the Citation CJ3/3+. Certification at press time was anticipated in “a matter of weeks,” Hathaway said. The company had flight-tested the CJ3 over the past year, including a flight between Paris, Texas, and Paris, France, with one stop. During that trip, Gander Control asked three times if the aircraft could make FL450 before the entry point of the high-altitude track, Hathaway noted. “Even the flight-planning agency didn’t believe us.”
Certification for the system on the CJ2/2+ is expected to follow soon after that, Hathaway added.
As the company works toward those approvals, Tamarack is expanding its portfolio, revealing plans in the past four months to add the Citations 560XL and Mustang, as well as the Embraer Phenom 100 to the winglet applications. The 560XL series will include the Excel, XLS and XLS+. Additionally, the company has formed a partnership with Innova Aerospace to offer the winglets as part of the “myC560” Citation Ultra and Encore upgrade program. The supplemental type certificate program on the series is estimated to take about two years.
While concentrating initially on light jets, Tamarack is looking much bigger for its winglet expertise, unveiling a Commercial Active Winglet demonstrator at the most recent NBAA annual convention in Las Vegas. The demonstrator incorporates a number of patents designed to improve performance of larger aircraft, including commercial and military models.
“This is a natural progression for Tamarack,” Guida said. “We have been working on new technology for several years but have waited for the patents to mature.”
The technologies build on the success of Atlas for CitationJets, he added, saying they “will bring the same benefits, and more, to air transport.”
The patents bring new features, including the ability for the winglet to adjust its toe angle inward and outward, based on flight conditions. A second feature enables Tacs to not only counter the aerodynamic forces of the winglet when loads are detected, but “droop” to control wing loading or twist, for peak efficiency.
The two features work together to optimize aerodynamics throughout the flight. “Basically, we can actively control wing loading, wing twist, and with the speed of our actuators, even aerodynamic flutter,” said Guida.
The third feature is a load-alleviation device that is designed to prevent excess loads such as those experienced in a side-gust event.
Tamarack is working with air carriers to define the product, and “I think it has an exciting future,” Hathaway said.