October 21, 2013
By Alton K. Marsh
For a small company with a big dream, it was a huge announcement during the National Business Aviation Association convention in Las Vegas Oct. 20. Tamarack Aerospace, inventor of active winglets that can unload aerodynamic forces when necessary, has formed a relationship with giant Cessna Aircraft. Cessna will market, sell, and install Tamarack winglets on smaller Cessna business jets.
Exploration of the relationship began two years ago during an NBAA convention when Cessna officials came to the Tamarack exhibit booth. The winglets offer increased range and useful load, better high-altitude and hot weather performance, and improved fuel economy. A test CitationJet has obtained fuel burns of hundreds of pounds less than a CitationJet without the winglets. Actual numbers for the system to be installed by Cessna are still in development.
For Tamarack the announcement of the agreement couldn’t have been bigger. For Cessna, it is one of many product improvements made to the Cessna fleet, and appeared in a small paragraph on a back page of a Cessna press release. The statement said, “Cessna Service will also offer aftermarket winglets for several models in the CJ family of business jets through an exclusive agreement with Tamarack Aerospace Group. In certain flight profiles, the winglets can provide an aircraft with greater range, increased useful loads and improved high and hot performance while simultaneously improving fuel economy. Plans call for winglets from Tamarack to be available for installation on several models in the CJ family of aircraft at Citation Service Centers in 2015.”
While winglets add lift, lift can be too much of a good thing when the aircraft is in turbulence and steep turns. There is danger of overstressing a wing that was never built to have winglets. Tamarack took care of that by developing and perfecting a computerized system that raises a control surface to spoil lift, rendering the winglet ineffective and in effect, turning it off. Tamarack has had the benefit of Cessna’s interest over the past two years, and now the long march toward the acceptance of the company’s product is literally a dream come true.
AOPA Pilot Senior Editor Alton Marsh has been a pilot since 1970 and has an airline transport pilot certificate and instrument and multiengine flight instructor certificates, aerobatic training, and a commercial seaplane certificate.
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