NBAA Convention News

Tamarack Ramps Up Winglet Installs, Boosts Network

 - October 13, 2018, 8:00 AM
Tamarack’s Atlas active winglets improve performance, range and efficiency.

Fresh off a round of Atlas Active Winglet certifications earlier this year, Sandpoint, Idaho-based Tamarack Aerospace (Booth 1663) has been ramping up installations, filling out its dealer network, adding capacity, and looking to the next applications. At the same time, it has paused one of its programs, for the CJ3, as it brings to market a retrofittable upgrade to that winglet offering.

“It’s been a good year for us in terms of growth,” said Paul Hathaway, vice president of marketing, noting that as of late September the company had accomplished 63 Citation upgrades, and that number was increasing every week. The company is beginning to see the initial open slots now toward the end of the year and early next year.

As such it is touting a new incentive program launched to reward referrals. Tamarack noticed it was receiving inquiries from maintenance shops, aircraft managers, or directors of maintenance who knew of potential aircraft that would benefit from the winglet, Hathaway said. It also has gotten interest and potential referrals from owners who have already installed the winglets. Under the program Tamarack is offering a $2,000 incentive for referrals that lead to installation.

Expansion Efforts

While providing referral incentives, Tamarack has built up a dealer network, both in the U.S. and internationally. The newest member is Swedish MRO Bromma Air Maintenance, which provides a range of maintenance for piston, turboprop, and jet aircraft, including Citations.

Bromma becomes the fourth authorized center in Tamarack’s European network, joining the three announced in July: Signature TechnicAir in Bournemouth, UK; Atlas Air in Bremen, Germany; and Prince Aviation in Belgrade, Serbia. In addition, the international network includes Solojet Aviacao in Brazil.

In the U.S., the company expanded its dealer network earlier this year with the additions of Eagle Aviation in Columbia, South Carolina; Western Aircraft in Boise, Idaho; Northeast Air in Portland, Maine, and two Duncan Aviation locations. They joined the three Elliott Aviation locations.

With the ramp-up of installers this year, Hathaway noted, “Folks have been traveling to and from Sandpoint, getting training,” and some of those centers already are “cranking out install after install.”

With the addition of Bromma, Hathaway believes Tamarack has a full complement of authorized dealers, saying the winglet specialist doesn’t want to dilute the market and wants to ensure it can maintain the quality of the process. But he is satisfied that looking at the Citation fleet worldwide, Tamarack has strategically filled out the network.

On top of adding the authorized dealer, the company last summer opened a new hangar next to its own Sandpoint location alongside its existing hangar. This addition will enable the winglet specialist to separate its engineering and flight-test functions from its installation and repair station work. It also helped Tamarack to ramp up to a typical installation time of one week.

The company has a set MSRP for both factory and authorized facility installs—so there is a level playing field—of $199,000 for the CJ through CJ1+ (525 series) and $249,000 for the CJ2 (525A) variants. The company in the spring received FAA and EASA approvals for the CJ2 and CJ2+, following on initial supplemental type certification for the 525 series (including the CJ, CJ1, CJ1+, and M2) granted in December 2016.

While it received 525B (CJ3/3+) approvals in February, Tamarack has temporarily paused that program for a retrofittable upgrade that should be approved and ready in 2019. On certain of the 525B installs, Hathaway said, “we’ve seen some variability compared with our test article.” After conducting analysis, the company pinpointed ways to improve performance. “We have identified an opportunity to reduce drag,” he said. It is a relatively simple change, he added, that involves sealing a gap between the active surface in the winglet extension.

As for future programs, Hathaway said Tamarack is in active negotiations with “a big OEM of a very popular midsize business jet,” and they are working through the details. Interest remains strong in other potential programs Tamarack has eyed, such as for the Citation Mustang and XLS and Embraer Phenom, but he conceded that there are a “number of dependencies” involved with those programs that have not yet been ironed out.

As for the existing fleet, the company has gotten positive feedback from operators about the performance improvements, particularly in the time to climb to FL410, Hathaway said. And demand for new installs remains strong, he said. “We’re very excited that the fleet is growing.”

The Atlas Active Winglets, which improve fuel performance, range, and climb ability, use a load alleviation system that enables the addition of a wing extension and a highly tuned winglet without requiring structural wing reinforcements.