Boeing has unveiled a new Advanced Technology winglet design concept for its 737 MAX family which the manufacturer says will provide customers with up to an additional 1.5 per cent fuel-burn improvement, depending on range, on top of the 10 to 12 per cent improvement it is already claiming for the new 737 variant.
“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,” says Jim Albaugh, president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes.
“Incorporating this advanced technology into the 737 MAX design will give our customers even more advantage in today’s volatile fuel price environment,” adds Albaugh.
Compared to today’s wingtip technology, which provides up to a 4 percent fuel-burn advantage at long ranges, the Advanced Technology winglet will provide a total fuel-burn improvement of up to 5.5 per cent on the same long routes, according to Boeing.
“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,” says Michael Teal, chief project engineer, 737 MAX.
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.
According to the manufacturer, the Advanced Technology winglet fits within today’s airport gate constraints while providing more effective span, thereby reducing drag. Ongoing Boeing 737 MAX testing in the wind tunnel validated the new concept on the aircraft.
The design may reflect some of the design expertise Boeing inherited in its takeover of McDonnell Douglas in 1997. While much larger than the three-directional, split winglet of the McDonnell Douglas MD-11, the design of the Advanced Winglet for the 737 MAX as displayed in the artist’s renderings Boeing has produced of the new winglet does show some similarity to the MD-11 winglet.
Boeing has already incorporated the new winglet design into its 737 MAX 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,” says Teal. “This puts us on track to deliver substantial additional fuel savings to our customers in 2017.”
Boeing claims airlines operating the 737 MAX now will gain an 18 per cent fuel-burn-per-seat improvement over today’s A320. Depending on the range of the mission, MAX operators will realize even more savings, according to Boeing.
“Adding the Advanced Technology winglet to the 737 MAX is consistent with our demonstrated performance on delivering increasing value to our customers, on time, throughout the life of the 737 program,” says Beverly Wyse, vice president and general manger of the Boeing 737 program.
To date, the 737 MAX has orders and commitments for more than 1,000 aircraft from 16 customers worldwide.