NBAA: Aviation Partners splits winglets for performance boost

Las Vegas
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Aviation Partners is preparing to fly the latest evolution of its blended winglet technology, this time in the form of blended split winglets with ventral fins and scimitar tips.

Along with striking ramp appeal, the devices should provide an additional 2.5% reduction in drag above the 5-7% provided by basic blended winglets, according to computational fluid dynamics (CFD) studies the company has performed.

Aviation Partners CEO Joe Clark is confident flight tests starting within the next five months on an as yet unidentified business aviation aircraft will prove out the numbers. "On our last two projects, CFD predictions have been within one-tenth of 1% flight test results," said Clark.

Unlike the company's more extreme spiroid winglets, which Clark said reduce drag by 11%, the split winglets can be constructed using existing blended winglets rather than a wholesale replacement of the tip, as would be the case with the spiroid. Clark said the company flight tested its spiroid design for 75h on the company Falcon 50 this year.

Should it become a product, Clark said customers would receive loaner winglets during the construction, which would involve pulling the skins from the back of the existing winglets, beefing up the structure and adding in the ventral portion of the device. He estimated cost for modifying an existing set of $600,000 winglets would be approximately $240,000.