VIDEO: Cuffs and winglets on tap for Cessna Caravan

Washington DC
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Canadian aircraft modification specialist Arctic Aerospace is working with the National Research Council of Canada to certificate a Cessna Caravan wing leading edge cuff and winglets system that Arctic says will cut drag, boost performance and reduce ice accretion.

Once approved by Transport Canada later this year - with reciprocal approval by the US Federal Aviation Administration to follow - Arctic will hold the supplemental type certificate for the modification and NRC will earn a fee for each kit purchased.

NRC performed the preliminary analysis of the wing root and wingtip sections to assess the aerodynamic impact of the changes and will develop the wing and fuselage loads analyses and conduct the flight testing programme. Arctic will produce the drooped aluminium leading edge cuff, which increases the wing chord by 100mm (4in) across the wing, as well as the metal and composite winglet for all Caravan models, the company says.

Arctic says the modifications will boost maximum take-off and landing weights and reduce drag, resulting in less fuel burn.

Improvements in en-route climb performance, service ceiling, speed and range are also expected to be confirmed by the flight testing.

NRC reports from preliminary trials that the wing cuff modification "has the potential for reduced ice accretion under applicable conditions". Both the Transportation Safety Board of Canada and the US National Transportation Safety Board have called for more attention to Caravan icing issues after a series of accidents in the mid-2000s. FedEx Express recently decided to install glycol-based TKS ice protection systems in lieu of the legacy pneumatic boots in its fleet of more than 250 Caravan cargo aircraft.