Winglets For All?

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An Idaho company says it has come up with a way to allow virtually any aircraft to benefit from winglets without affecting the certified load limits of its wings. Tamarack Aerospace President Nick Guida said the patented "active winglets" the company has developed will allow the installation of winglets on hundreds of aircraft types whose wings were not engineered to handle them. The key is turning the effect of the winglets on and off when necessary to mitigate the potential for winglets to overstress wings.

Guida said winglets cause the center of pressure of wings to move outboard, thereby creating higher stress loads on the wing. While that's fine for most operations, turbulence and aggressive maneuvering can push the wings beyond their design limits and that's where the Tamarack system comes in. It uses computer-controlled aileron-type control surfaces next to the winglet that move to negate the effect of the winglet when warranted. Tamarack is working on certification using a Cirrus SR22 for a demonstration platform, but Guida said the technology can be applied to many existing designs whose wings wouldn't otherwise handle winglets.