June 18, 2024


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Agent 1 Sky Alps: There are now also winglets for Dash 8 – and a very special one at that

Agent 1 Sky Alps: There are now also winglets for Dash 8 – and a very special one at that

Sky Alps equips the De Havilland Canada Dash 8-400 with mini suites. However, they are not ordinary ailerons, but active ones with moving parts. How do they work and what is the goal?

They are ubiquitous in jet aircraft. Whether it’s the Airbus A321 Neo, Boeing 737 Max or Embraer E190 – they all have small wings. Special wingtips reduce induced drag and thus can reduce kerosene consumption by a few percent. This helps airlines save money and emissions.

However, you rarely see ailerons on turboprop helicopters, with the exception of some military models. The reason is that they add weight and trips tend to be short, which makes the savings less significant. Tamarack Aerospace wants to change that.

Wing system with movable part

However, the American company does not make regular wings, but active ones. While the classic models are rigid, the Tamarack models consist of a system with a moving part. In addition to the actual wing, there is a wing extension and flap that can be used to reduce wing loading.

Active wing construction for Tamarack. Photo: Tamarack Aerospace

Load and camber sensors detect changes in wing loading in milliseconds. At high loads, they control the hood and, accordingly, reduce it. With this system, the wing can be turned off “aerodynamically and thus avoid additional loads,” as the manufacturer explains. This happens completely automatically and without you having to do anything in the cockpit.

More range, lower consumption

Smart Wing calls the tamarack technology. You can achieve three benefits with it: you can reduce fuel consumption, increase range and improve climbing performance. All of this increases efficiency and safety, says Tamarack.

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The technology isn’t just on paper, it’s already in use. It’s used on two experimental Beechcraft King Air planes, but mainly on Cessna 190 Quotes. According to Tamarack, they can climb to cruising altitude in less than 30 minutes using active ailerons, and gain altitude in the process. In addition, business jets will see range increase by a third, up to 2,200 kilometres.

Sky Alps is the first turbocharged customer

While regular ailerons promise savings of 3 to 5 percent in kerosene consumption, the tamarack system saves between 12 and 15 percent. This has now also convinced the first operator of turbo propeller machines. Sky Alps will outfit its entire fleet of De Havilland Canada Dash 8-400s with Tamarack Aeropace active winglets.

However, the South Tyrol regional airline is planning more, as announced on Friday (June 16). In a letter of intent, it indicated that it is also upgrading the cockpit avionics, enabling weight savings and increased operational efficiency through better route planning. Sky Alps also gives the Dash 8-400 a new interior that’s lighter and should offer more comfort.

Also possible with Airbus A320 and Boeing 737

But you shouldn’t stop at turboprops when it comes to the Tamarack. The Idaho-based company’s active wings can also be installed on larger aircraft such as the Airbus A320 and Boeing 737. A spokesperson explained that they will be ready within two years.

See the video photo gallery above for what the Active Wings look like and operate. Clicking on the image opens the gallery in a large format.

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