Odds and Ends: Boeing revises MAX winglet, adding 1.5% to efficiency

Update, 2:15 PM PDT: Airbus issued this response to the Boeing development:

“This kind of split-tip device was among the options we studied for the A320 Family, and we decided instead to advance with our Sharklet design as the most efficient.  Our Sharklet figures (3.5% improvement over the already-efficient A320 wing with wing-tip fences) are flight-test proven.”

Original Post:

Boeing today announced a revised winglet to add 1.5% in fuel efficiency for the 737 MAX, releasing a photo. See here. This will be on top of the advertised 10%12% fuel burn gain previously announced.

Separately, David Hess, CEO of Pratt & Whitney, told the PW media day “that as far as we know, the 737 MAX is not an opportunity for us,” citing the Boeing-CFM exclusivity agreement.

Update, 0900 PDT: Boeing held a tele-press conference to discuss the new “Boeing Advanced Technology Winglets,” (BATW) which it also called “dual feathered” winglets.

Boeing said this is an exclusive Boeing design and not derived from a similar design promoted by Aviation Partners. Key points:

  • Up to 1.5% lower fuel burn, depending on the length of mission;
  • The design used Computational Fluid Dynamics to design it, a process used from the 787/747-8 programs;
  • This is completely new technology, not having roots to the MD-11 which has a similar-looking wingtip arrangement;
  • The wingspan is increased by only “inches” compared with the NG;
  • The BATW is likely scalable to larger aircraft;
  • There are no current plans to make the BATW available on the NG, though this could change;
  • Although there will be some benefit to range, the BATW isn’t significant;
  • Boeing now claims 18% better all-in costs than the current Airbus A320 (based on figures as a starting point Airbus disputes);
  • This just about does it for aerodynamic changes to the 737; architectural changes should be nailed down in the third or fourth quarter; and
  • “Our major trades aerodynamically are done.”

Aviation Partners has a similar concept; the differences between Boeing and AP are evident.

Here’s how McDonnell Douglas executed a similar concept on the MD-11:

39 comments on “Odds and Ends: Boeing revises MAX winglet, adding 1.5% to efficiency

  1. Tks

    So airbus seems to be one generation late with winglets…
    Maybewe will soon have clues on the real gain with sharklets, they are supposed to be more tha n the 3.4% advertised … but 5.5% is far

    • Not trailing imho but different path.

      The new4MAX “oversized wingfences” certainly look very pleasing to the eye.

    • Actually, now Airbus is two generations behind Boeing on wingtip devices. Assuming the AP Blended Winglets used on Boeings for years now, and the soon to be introduced Sharklets, on the A-32X series (only, at least for now) are of the same generation, the raked wingtips are a generation ahead of the blended winglets/sharklets, and now the BATW move into the next generation.

      Also, if the new BATW do bring in another 1.5% in fuel savings, that should boost the B-737MAX to at least a 13.5% improvement.

      Does anyone else notice the new blister in the location the NLG is, ala A-330F?

    • The topology of ups and downs is vastly different between the different wingtip devices.
      The Airbus fences give you relatively low gains but over nearly the full usage envelope.
      Winglets ( forex the 90° upturned nonlifting variety ) increases parasitic drag over most of the envelope while giving large gains in select usage areas.

  2. Scott,
    As french, my english is something shaky
    Refering to your tweet

    “Aviation Partners out with Boeing-designed Advanced Technology Winglet for MAX.”

    So it’s not Aviation Partner technology ?

    Tks

  3. Interesting concept. I like the idea of a “dual feathered” winglet, as it addresses both the upper and lower surfaces of the wing. It looks like a cross between what Airbus has done previously and what Aviation Partners is offering now.

  4. Honestly, wing-tip devices are researched for decades. The “right” device is always a trade for the particular wing/mission.
    I don’t think there is any “technology gap”.

    • I would expect boeing to play to its advantages: optimise for shorter missions, whereas airbus will most certainly try to optimise for theirs; longer missions. This way, they will compete with each other, but in their usual way; not competing in everything “tit for tat”. Both will claim their design is the best, and none will be lying.
      Business as usual; let’s eat some cherry pie!

  5. Usually the best design for long range is also the best for short range. At least when wing area is fixed. With lots of “options” in structural changes being available for the MAX (and no need to retrofit it to the current aircraft), Boeing probably changed the wing lift distribution and traded some weight (> heavier) for some aerodynamic efficiency. With the new engine the entire wing needs to be looked at, and the larger fan changes the aerodynamics.

  6. I just get the feeling that this is one of those things that’ll look way better in marketing ads, but a bit bleh in real life, I don’t like it, yet. Though who cares what it looks like if it delivers the 1.5% Boeing are promising.

    Although what exactly is the point of the unnecessary(and probably untrue to an extent) comparison of the MAX to the NEO? They’ll hardly be competing with each other for sales.

    • “Update, 2:15 PM PDT: Airbus issued this response to the Boeing development:

      “This kind of split-tip device was among the options we studied for the A320 Family, and we decided instead to advance with our Sharklet design as the most efficient. Our Sharklet figures (3.5% improvement over the already-efficient A320 wing with wing-tip fences) are flight-test proven.”

      Now that is funny, seeing the first A-320 with sharklets has just been completed and will enter supplemential certification flight testing later this month. I wonder why the Airbus response hasn’t mentioned that Boeing has already been flying the AP Blended Winglet (which the sharklets resemble) for 10+ years now on the even more advanced and efficient B-737NG wing, achieving a 3.5% to 5% fuel burn reduction, depending on mission lenght. They have been doing that in “real world” conditions on actual missions flown by actual airlines, not in a scripted flight test program.

      • I guess they are saying we have a proven 3.5 enhancement. Boeing has a great artist impressions accompanied by a promise. For some that still is good enough, others might say: show us first.

        • Actually, Airbus has not proven the sharklets 3.5% fuel savings to anyone. All they have is (controlled) test data. As I said, they have not even begun flight certification testing, yet. Oh, BTW, their sharklets is not able to be retrofitted to older A-32X series airplanes. I guess once the customer’s airplane is kicked out the door, EADS forgets all about that airframe. You cannot even nail a peice of plywood on the wingtips of the older A-32X airplanes, and that little wingtip fence has been a joke for years. For the Boeing/AP blended winglets, it is retrofitable to older B-737CLASSICs, as many B-733s now have them. They were also retrofitted to B-757s and older and newly built B-767s. The Boeing/AP blended winglets are a proven fuel saver, the sharklets are not. They are just more JL BS.

      • I fail to see why Airbus needed to respond at all…

        “have not even begun flight certification testing”
        You only need to hold your breath for a few days…

        “Oh, BTW, their sharklets is not able to be retrofitted to older A-32X series airplanes.”
        Yet another statement that is wrong… A retrofit package is on its way.

        “I guess once the customer’s airplane is kicked out the door, EADS forgets all about that airframe.”
        Never miss the chance for yet another bashing…

        “For the Boeing/AP blended winglets, it is retrofitable to older B-737CLASSICs, as many B-733s now have them. They were also retrofitted to B-757s and older and newly built B-767s.”
        Sure, only that they had to rip apart most of the outer wing to fit them.

        “They are just more JL BS.”
        You can always trust Randy.

    • “I just get the feeling that this is one of those things that’ll look way better in marketing ads, but a bit bleh in real life, I don’t like it, yet”

      I tend to agree, I prefer the look of the Blended Winglets/Sharklets.

  7. Boeing already maxed out the winglet on the NG. So, what to do?
    – First, technology did move forward since and so an optimization makes sense.
    – Further, getting away from API makes sense in a commercial way.
    – Last but not least, having a clearly noticeable difference to the current NG (especially for the untrained eye of the average flying Joe) makes sense.
    Voilá: Introducing the new winglet!

    For me it looks like they have reduced the overall wetted surface of the winglet compared to the oversized NG-version. Since wetted surface is bad, the savings might partially come from that. Additionally, you never know where (at which speed and which weight) the saving really happens. Airbus (I think it was Leahy in one of his briefings) admitted once that their winglet doesn’t really yield any advantage below 500nm. That isn’t due to the stupidity of Airbus engineering but due to (rather simple) physical realities of aerodynamics.

  8. Hello everybody
    Did i dream or the gain airbus announced on sharklet is vs A320-200 with fence ?
    So add 1 ou 2% vs original A320-100 wing with kuchemann tip more comparable to a NG wing without winglets
    I might be wrong

  9. Don :
    uwe – credible source for your analysis ???

    Well, Don we are not going to start the “nagging TP” thing here.

    If you think my explanation is nonfactual please post facts.

    • I simply asked for a credible source for YOUR analysis – IOW do you have any FACTS to share ? Or is your analyis really an opinion or belief which of course cannot be questioned ?

    • Perhaps you missed my post a few weeks ago wherin I suggested a close look at the following comment on a ‘ sister’ site

      April 18, 2012 at 11:45 am | #40
      Reply | Quote

      Might I suggest that everyone take another look at the article which started this thread re3 winglets- a recent ( today 18 april ) post by ‘ a satisfied user ” of winglets should puty to bed all the suppositions- [ and ;) ] basically support my initial response

      http://airinsight.com/2012/04/10/winglets-a-triumph-of-marketing-over-reality/

      starts

      SEQU on April 18, 2012 at 1:25 pm said:

      Dear Mr. Arvai,

      I have been lucky enough to have operated the B767 for the last 9 years. 5 of those on aircraft without APB winglets, and the last 4 years, with them installed. I believe that you are using unsubstantiated rumors to formulate your piece. . ..

      and goes on . . .

      Don

      • The debate on the advantages and disadvantages (preceived or real) of winglets is going to go on for a very long time. Both Airbus and Boeing seem committed to them, regardless under what name they are marketed. For the airlines, I think the best representitive is WN, who has either ordered winglets on their new builds (when they were an option), or retrofitted them to airplanes not ordered with them and older airplanes they have that were built before the “winglet fad”. WN is a very wise airline, use to making a profit, and have done so in nearly every reporting quarter since they began flying. They would not have the winglets if there was no reasonable ROI, whether from direct lower fuel burn or increased revenue by carrying more pax and/or cargo (yes, Southwest actually does carry some cargo), or a combination of both.

        To me, the vindacation of the winglet/raked wingtip is Boeing’s new design. Boeing would not have invested engineering hours/days/months if there was little to no varifiable benefit for them. The same can be said for Airbus and their sharklets. But, Boeing seems to have gone at least a step further in designing both the raked wingtip and the BATW, as well as using AP’s blended winglet for about a decade now. They recongnise different classes of airplanes do different types of missions, thus need different equipment. The big Boeing jets, B-777-200F/LR/-300ER, B-7478F/I, B-787, and B-767-400ER all have raked wingtips, as does the USN’s P-8A (which will be flying long endurance missions), the B-737NG and B-767-300ER (some have been built with the APBWs) has blended winglets, and the new B-737MAX will have the BATWs.

        So, can we assume that raked wingtips are better for long range and very long range missions, blended winglets are better for medium range missions, and BATWs are better for shorter range missions? In other words, Boeing is saying “one size doesn’t fit all”.

  10. the A330/340 had a long wing span & winglets from the start. Adding span (“raked wingtips”) didn’t make much sense. I think it is very interesting airbus is removing downward pointed wingtip devices while Boeing adds them.

  11. I have always wondered why winglets were bent up instead of down from the
    beginning, because after all, they are supposed to prevent higher pressed air,
    to flow around the wingtip to the lower pressed air, i.e. from the bottom of the
    wing to the upper surface of the wing, around the wingtip!
    Now it appears that the lower winglets are getting bigger and bigger, compared
    to the upper winglets. A late awakening? That’s hard to believe!

  12. UKair :
    The resemblance to the API winglet is quite remarkable. I can see a lawsuit coming

    Lots of comments about potential infringement on API’s intellectual property. In my view, the new Boeing design cleverly avoided the infringement which is currently creating legal headaches for the Airbus Sharklet design.

    If you take a look at US patent number 5348253, you’ll find the only thing APIhas patented is the smooth “blended” transition area of the winglet. From API’s patent:

    “In a critical departure from the usual winglet design approach, the sensitive transition section features a smoothly varying chord distribution which blends smoothly and continuously with the wing and with the adjoining straight section.”

  13. Airbus, your artist impressions have become sub-standard for some time now.

    By a good margin too. Better put pressure on the studio or hire someone else. Just not good enough anymore.
    ;)

  14. The 737 MAX has apparently 1000 orders already signed for it. A reduction of 1.5% in fuel efficiency is huge for commercial airliners. It saves in both aviation fuel costs (purchasing, storing, transport etc.) AND in fuel emmissions taxes too. When you add this the potential 12% saving in fuel – which I think is just too ambitious – it’s a real industry gamechanger. However, the exclusivity deal is surely something that can be challenged legally under anti-competitive laws. I don’t see how that can be done as it will just propel certain airline companies light years ahead of everyone else.

    Do we know yet which commercial, cargo and air charter companies will be part of the exclusive contracts? What have they done to be in the shortlist? Surely it’s not unreasonable for the governments and aviation authority to carefully watch the flow of money to make sure there’s no backroom deals and brown envelopes passed between those involved?

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