Oh this would please Doctor Evil so much – it also pleases me too.
Most of us who have boarded a modern short haul plane (and quite a few long haul planes), can’t help but see on the end of the wing, a wingtip device – be it a:
- Winglet (as seen on Boeing 747-400’s, Airbus A330/A340’s),
- Wingtip Fences (Airbus A320 family, Airbus A380),
- Blended Winglets (Boeing 737NG Family, and various retrofits to Boeing 737’s, 757’s and 767’s).
- Raked Wingtip (Boeing 777, Boeing 787 families)
The aim of devices isn’t to look pretty – but to reduce the reduce the aircraft’s drag by partial recovery of the tip vortex energy – thus saving fuel over the weight gained of sticking something on the end of the wing. The performance of such devices allow better climb and in most cases – better fuel savings of 4%-6%
There’s a lot about what wing tip devices do at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wingtip_device
That may not sound a lot, but over the lifetime of an aircraft frame, that’s a lot of fuel which has to be paid by you the passenger.
Airbus have been developing a new option for its A320 aircraft (and to feature on its A320NEO aircraft) – the Sharklet!
Sharklets are the Airbus answer to the Blended Winglet that you see aboard Boeing 737NG’s (and that sort of aircraft). These have now been certified for flight by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) will US FAA accreditation to follow on the Airbus A320 platform using CFM56 engines. V2500 Engine support will also follow shortly.
For those airlines buying new A320 family aircraft, Sharklets are now available as on option on current generation aircraft, or as standard for the A320NEO.
And they do look very nice indeed.
Airbus A320’s with Sharklets – Image – Airbus S.A.S.
The first A320 equipped with Sharklets will be flying with Air Asia on A320 aircraft towards the end of 2012.
Now if only these sharklets had lasers… Doctor Evil would be very impressed.