What better photo than a winglet & Pacific Northwest icon Mt. Rainier?
During the recent Aviation Geek Fest, a reader of AirlineReporter suggested that I do a bit of a roundup of all the different “winglets” that are out in the aviation world (I wish I remembered you name). With so many different kinds of wingtip devices out in the marketplace, there needs to be a handy guide as to what they all are and what aircraft they belong to. But first maybe a little bit of background on what a winglet actually does.
In the late 1970’s, NASA engineer Richard T. Whitcomb took some research from the 1950’s and further developed what we know as the winglet. NASA wanted to see what would happen if they were to create a wingtip device that, with the correct angle and shape, could help reduce drag and increase lift, and also help break up the wingtip vortices.
Getting these benefits from the wing helps make flying easier and increases fuel efficiency – something that back in the 70’s wasn’t as crucial as it is now. How much fuel can you save by adding a winglet? On average, a 737 can save around 4% when compared to a non-winglet version. A winglet is really designed to save money when flying long distances at high altitudes, so long flights are where the most savings are realized.
Allegiant Air Boeing 757 with new winglets
Allegiant Air has announced service to Hawaii using Boeing 757s. We don’t know from where or when, but it is exciting for a number of different reasons.
Allegiant currently only has a fleet of MD-80 aircraft. Their business model of owning their older aircraft has worked and seeing a deviation from their current model is pretty interesting. It also means we get to see Allegiant’s livery on another aircraft type.
The airline is expanding their route map to Hawaii, which will be the longest route they serve. To help do this, Allegiant is retrofitting their newly purchased Boeing 757s with blended winglets.
Yesterday I hoped to get a glimpse of the winglets while the the aircraft are being worked on at Paine Field, but no luck. I figured they would be locked away, but it was a hot day and maybe a hangar door would be open. However, I was lucky enough to get in possession of this wonderful photo of one of Allegiant’s Boeing 757s with a new liveried winglet. You can see that the body still has the old Thompson livery without titles.
Aviation-Designs.net has a rough mock-up of what the Allegiant 757 might look like, but without the winglets.
SEE LARGER VERSION Photo from Allegiant