By now, most operators are familiar with the performance gains of a Blended Winglet retrofit. Less drag, lower fuel burn and superior climb and cruise characteristics all sound good, but what does that really mean to a CEO?
Operators who push an aircraft to the edge of its capabilities might consider an upgrade to an aircraft with better performance. But with the extended range and improved fuel burn winglets provide, a new aircraft may not be necessary.
According to Blended Winglet manufacturer Aviation Partners®, Inc.'s (API's) website AviationPartners.com, Blended Winglets extend the range of Falcon 2000 series aircraft by up to 260 nm. Hawker 800 series aircraft see similar performance improvements with an extended range of 180 nm. Gains in fuel efficiency, climb performance, and speed are also realized.
Essentially, a winglet retrofit delivers like-new aircraft performance at a fraction of the price, says Dale Hawkins, Falcon Airframe Service Sales Representative at Duncan Aviation's Battle Creek, Michigan, facility.
Aircraft that are equipped with winglets also see higher residual values. Blue Book values for both Hawker 800 series and Falcon 2000 series aircraft estimate a conservative 75% residual value for winglet modifications, says Gary Dunn, Vice President of Sales at API. He notes that higher residual values have been observed at resale. "It's a highly visible technology," says Gary. Aircraft with winglets "sell more quickly at better prices."
Aircraft Sales Rep. Rene Cardona also agrees that winglets help an aircraft sell. "It's a benefit, there's no doubt that it is," he says. Rene explains that if two identical aircraft are listed for sale and one has winglets, the difference in value should be the cost of the winglets. However, not all of the installation costs may be recouped. Winglets are also becoming a piece of equipment that aircraft buyers are more inclined to incorporate into maintenance events, says Dale. To date, Duncan Aviation has installed more than 50 winglets in Hawker 800 and Falcon 2000 series aircraft.
Winglets reduce drag caused by wingtip vortices, the small "tornados" formed by pressure differences at the end of an aircraft's wing. A Blended Winglet is attached to the wing with a smooth curve instead of a sharp angle, which helps reduce drag where the wing and winglet meet. This improves performance, and enables operators to fly longer missions.
For example, winglets enable Hawker 800 series operators to fly across the United States, or comfortably reach Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, from Paris, says Aviation Partners' website. Operators can also fly faster for the same amount of fuel, saving valuable time and lowering direct operating costs. Shorter missions can also be completed with greater payload and fuel reserves.
The longer range, improved cruising speeds and fuel efficiency realized through a winglet modification is far more cost effective than upgrading to an aircraft with similar capabilities, says Alan Monk, Falcon Airframe Service Sales Rep. at Duncan Aviation's Battle Creek, Michigan, facility.
There isn't much room for negotiation on the final bill for a winglet modification, but with some research and planning, there are cost-saving approaches to be had.
Eliminating sales tax from a winglet modification offers a significant savings, and will vary from state to state, says Dale. Some service providers have taxexempt locations, although not many qualify. Duncan Aviation's full-service facilities in Lincoln and Battle Creek are tax-exempt locations.
The 2010 Tax Relief Act also allows companies to take advantage of 100% bonus depreciation for new aircraft purchases and new equipment purchases for used aircraft before the end of 2011, according to Advocate Consulting Legal Group, PLLC's website. Accelerated depreciation has applied to winglets in the past, says Dale, but it's best to check with a tax professional regarding if and how a company can benefit.
Pre-buy evaluations also present an opportunity for a winglet modification, says Dale. The modification can be achieved during the same downtime, and can be rolled into the financing at that time.
Despite the performance gains, an extended downtime for a winglet modification alone isn't always practical. Scheduling the modification with service bulletins, inspections, interior modifications, paint refurbishments and avionics installations uses downtime more wisely, often without extending the service schedule, says Dale.
Duncan Aviation has performed more than 20 Falcon 2000 series winglet modifications, and can achieve them in about four weeks, says Dale. Winglets can be scheduled with the dry bay modification in the same downtime. A Falcon "C" check will extend downtime by about a week. Scheduling these projects independently of one another will extend downtime by three to four weeks, says Dale.
Downtime for Hawker 800 series winglets is even shorter, about 21 calendar days, and can be paired with 48 month inspection cycles, says Dan Fuoco, Hawker Airframe Service Sales Rep. in Lincoln. Aircraft age and inspection findings can affect downtimes.
Blended Winglets are offered by API as an aftermarket retrofit for the Gulfstream II, Hawker 800/SP/ XP, and Falcon 2000/EX/EASy models. Blended Winglets for Falcon 900 models are expected by summer 2011, while Falcon 50 winglets are expected in early 2012, says Gary. Duncan Aviation has facilities that are authorized Falcon, Hawker and API service centers.
For more information on Blended Winglets for Hawker and Falcon aircraft, browse our airframe capabilities atwww.DuncanAviation.aero/airframe or ask for a Falcon or Hawker Sales Rep. in Lincoln at 402.475.2611 or in Battle Creek at 269.969.8400.
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