Advanced Winglets for 737 MAX

New Advanced Winglet for 737 MAX | Commercial Aviation and Airline News | Image Copyright The Boeing Company

New Winglet to Provide 1.5% Fuel Burn Reduction

Boeing has let the cat out of the bag today, announcing a new winglet design concept for the Boeing 737 MAX.   The new, advanced winglet will provide up to an additional 1.5 percent fuel burn savings, depending on flight range.  Keep in mind this is already on top of the 10 to 12 percent improvement from the new LEAP-1B engines.

When compared to today’s wingtips, which provide a 4% fuel savings at long ranges, the advanced winglet will bump that number up to 5.5 percent on long routes.

Michael Teal, Chief Project Engineer, 737 MAX, said, “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.”

The extra-efficient design has been incorporated into the 737 MAX design and production system plans.  According to Teal, “We have assessed the risk and understand how to leverage this new technology on the MAX within our current schedule — This puts us on track to deliver substantial additional fuel savings to our customers in 2017.”

Airlines operating the 737 MAX will gain an 18 percent fuel-burn per-seat improvement over today’s A320.  Depending on the range of the mission, MAX operators will realize even more savings.

When it comes to the single aisle market, both Boeing and Airbus are competing with the development of new, re-engined aircraft.  For Boeing, it is the Boeing 737 MAX and Airbus is hard at work with the A320neo (new engine option) which will have “Sharklet” wing-tips.  Each manufacturer is working hard to deliver fuel savings, the number one cost at each airline.

At Boeing, 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.  Important for airlines is also the fact the Advanced Technology winglet fits within today’s airport gate constraints while providing more effective span thereby reducing drag.  Current, continuous 737 MAX testing in the wind tunnel validated the new concept on the airplane.

Jim Albaugh, president and CEO, Boeing Commercial Airplanes, said, “The Advanced Technology winglet demonstrates Boeing’s continued drive to improve fuel burn and the corresponding value to the customer. With this technology and others being built into the MAX, we will extend our leadership.” Albaugh continues, “Incorporating this advanced technology into the 737 MAX design will give our customers even more advantage in today’s volatile fuel price environment.”

As fuel is the largest cost at airlines these days and fuel prices are volatile, commercial airlines are looking at every advantage they can get.  Today, the newer, Next Generation 737’s are ETOPS certified and the current 737 NG models are being used on longer flights than in the past, such as from the US West Coast to Hawaii.

Finally, with pollution and CO2 output being a concern, the reduced emissions will help European customers – and those operating to Europe – who must engage in the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme.

To date, the 737 MAX has more than 1,000 orders and commitments from 16 customers worldwide.


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