Airbus has begun its flight-testing campaign of two winglet configurations on its A320 family that will also see a second design using an aircraft from the fleet of US low fares carrier JetBlue Airways.
Yesterday the airframer rolled out the first design of two "wing tip devices", fitted on to development aircraft F-WWBA, at its Toulouse headquarters (pictured below in flight). The first devices are large winglets resembling those fitted onto various Boeing types including the 737 Next Generation-based Boeing Business Jet 2. A second shipset of winglets is due to arrive in Toulouse later this month and will join the flight test programme in May.
A second design will be tested on an aircraft provided by JetBlue. The devices have been designed by Wichita, Kansas-based Winglet Technologies and is believed to be an elliptical winglet shape, similar to one developed for flight tests on a Bombardier Challenger 600.
Airbus will evaluate the performance and make a decision on whether to prograess with either design by the end of the year.
Source: Flight International