Boeing promises additional fuel burn improvement from new winglets for 737 MAX as Airbus unveils Sharklets
Graphic of the new winglet design for the 737 MAX (photo: Boeing)
Thu 10 May 2012 – A new Advanced Technology winglet design concept for the 737 MAX will provide airline customers for the re-engined aircraft that is due to come into service in 2017 with up to an additional 1.5 per cent improvement, depending on range, says Boeing. This is on top of the 10-12 per cent improvement promised by the new-engine variant. Compared to current Boeing wingtip technology, which provides up to a 4 per cent fuel-burn saving at long ranges, the new winglet will see a total fuel-burn improvement of up to 5.5 per cent on the same long routes, claims the airplane manufacturer. Meanwhile, Airbus has rolled-out the first new Airbus A320 to be fitted with Sharklet wingtip devices which are expected to reduce fuel burn by up to 3.5 per cent.
Boeing says its aerodynamicists used advanced computational fluid dynamics to combine rake tip technology with a dual feather winglet concept into one advanced treatment for the wings of the 737 MAX and has been validated in ongoing wind tunnel testing. The manufacturer adds the Advanced Technology (AT) winglet fits within current airport gate constraints, while providing more effective span and thereby reducing drag.
“The concept is more efficient than any other wingtip device in the single-aisle market because the effective wing span increase is uniquely balanced between the upper and lower parts of the winglet,” said Michael Teal, Chief Project Engineer for the 737 MAX, which has so far notched up more than 1,000 orders and commitments from 16 customers.
The AT winglet has now been incorporated into the re-engined aircraft’s design and production system plans. “We have assessed the risk and understand how to leverage this new technology on the MAX within our current schedule,” said Teal. “This puts us on track to deliver substantial additional fuel savings to our customers in 2017.”
Boeing says the 737 MAX will now gain an 18% fuel-burn improvement over today’s A320, with even more savings depending on the range of the flight.
Meanwhile, Airbus is starting the Sharklet certification flight-test campaign in Toulouse this month on a new-build A320 following an earlier flight test trial on an A320 test aircraft. In total, seven new-build A320 Family aircraft fitted with both CFM56 and V2500 engine types will test the production-standard Sharklets.
Designed especially for the A320 Family, Sharklets will reduce fuel burn by up 3.5%, giving an annual CO2 saving of around 700 tonnes per aircraft, says Airbus.
The first member of the family to enter service with the wingtip device will be the CFM56-powered A320, which is expected to take place from the fourth quarter of 2012. Sharklets are now offered as an option on new-build aircraft and are standard on the A320neo Family, the Airbus competitor to the 737 MAX.