On Tuesday the 16th July 2013, a new type of winglet took to the skies for the first time. Â Forget about the blended winglet or even the sharklet, the new kid in town is the Scimitar Winglet. Â This new winglet is similar to the Advance Technology Winglet that is destined for Boeingâ€™s new 737 Max aircraft, but is built for the 737NG instead.
The first flight was operated by a United 737-800 (aircraftÂ N37277) and was conducted at Paine Field (KPAE) in Everett.Â Many of the test flights out of KPAE are operated by Boeing at the north-end of the airport, but this flight was completed at the south-end via Aviation Partners Boeing where the aircraft was retrofitted with the new Scimitar Winglet.
This January, United Airlines placed an order to retrofit their 737-800 aircraft with the Scimitar Winglet. Then last month, they extended it to cover their existing (and new) 737-900ER aircraft as well.
“We are always looking for opportunities to reduce fuel expense by improving the efficiency of our fleet. The Next-Generation 737 Split Scimitar Winglet will provide a natural hedge against rising fuel prices while simultaneously reducing carbon emissions,” said United’s Vice President of Fleet Ron Baur.
By fitting the new Scimitar Winglets to a 737-900ER, Aviation Partners Boeing expects the aircraft to be able to increase range by approximately 60 nm. Â It may not sound like much but from an airline’s perspective, every little bit counts. Â Not just range will be extended but the aircraft should also be able to carry an additional 3,300lb [that’s a lot of extra bag fees].
The biggest savings will be to the fuel tanks. A whopping 57,000 gallons of jet fuel can be saved for every aircraft, fitted with a Scimitar Winglet, each year. Â That is same as over 2190 tanks of gas for a Dodge Ram 1500.
Considering that United has over 76 of these aircraft currently flying (with 4 more on order), you can see just why this makes sense for them.
â€œUnited Airlines continues to lead the way in adapting its fleet to be as fuel efficient and eco-friendly as possible,â€ said Aviation Partners Boeing executive vice president and chief commercial officer Patrick LaMoria. â€œUnitedâ€™s relentless drive to improve fuel efficiency is the perfect complement to APBâ€™s focus on continuous innovation.We are once again very excited to launch another new program with United.â€
After further testing, other 737NG aircraft (the BBJ & 737-700) will be able to be fitted with the Scimitar Winglet as well. You can soon expect this new winglet to be a frequent site at an airport near you so have your camera ready.
|This story written by…Malcolm Muir, Lead Correspondent. Mal is an Australian Avgeek now living and working in Seattle. With a passion for aircraft photography, traveling and the fun that combining the two can bring. Insights into the aviation world with a bit of a perspective thanks to working in the travel industry|