By Mike Mangano
Tamarack Joins Hybrid Aircraft Manufacturer Ampaire to Upgrade Aircraft
American hybrid aircraft manufacturer Ampaire has signed a memorandum of understanding with Tamarack Aerospace Group for aircraft upgrades. The agreement will allow Ampaire to utilize Tamarack’s research and development for the aerodynamic improvement of its fleet, aiding in increased efficiency and flight time.
A key benefit of the joint development is Tamarack’s advanced SMARTWING active winglet technology, with Ampaire eager to deliver its vision of sustainable aviation in what is an increasingly sustainability-focused industry. According to Ampaire, the Tamarack’s active winglets increase fuel efficiency and range, smooth flight and improve the ability to take off and land on shorter runways regardless of high/hot conditions and payload”.
For customers of Ampaire, the improvements translate as a two-in-one performance enhancement and cost reduction, with the optional SMARTWING addition compatible with the entire fleet of Eco Caravan, Eco King Air, and Eco Otter.
Speaking on the benefits of Tamarack’s active winglet technology, Tamarack CEO Nick Guida said, “Tamarack’s Performance SMARTWING technology has demonstrated substantial aerodynamic improvements on multiple platforms including 160 upgraded CitationJets, and our goal aligns closely with Ampaire’s to make every aircraft more efficient and sustainable”, with Ampaire CEO Kevin Noertker adding the “technology is a great match with Ampaire’s hybrid propulsion system, as both work synergistically to upgrade the performance and economics of the proven aircraft operated by our customers”.
Far from a recent innovation, winglets have seen extensive use in aviation since the late 1970s in an effort to increase fuel efficiency. As an extension of an aircraft’s wing, the winglet aids in the reduction of wingtip vortices — a dragging force — generated during the lifting process. To produce lift, a wing must generate both a low pressure above and a high pressure below. Simply put, the pressure difference causes the wing to rise, in effect being pulled up by a suction force.
This lift is typically strongest around the center of the wing, however the same cannot be said about the wingtip. Without any surface extending beyond the wing, the higher pressure below is sucked into the lower pressure above, producing a mixing of the air — vortices. Since the air above the wingtip is no longer low pressure, lift is reduced and drag increased. The result is an inefficient wing and an aircraft that requires more fuel.
The winglet, essentially a vertical extension of the wing, reduces the drag effect of vortices by inhibiting the movement of higher-pressure air below into the low pressure above. When designed correctly, the winglet can even add a small degree of thrust.
While many modern aircraft utilize winglets to reduce the negative impact of vortices, Tamarack believes its SMARTWING active winglets can outperform others. According to Tamarack, SMARTWING technology can adapt to different regimes of flight, allowing the winglet to always perform at its optimum level, including changing load conditions of the aircraft. Automatic, and functioning autonomously from other aircraft systems, Tamarack’s active winglets are designed for simple installation and require no structural changes or additions.
According to Tamarack, the efficiency increases are significant – a huge bonus for the rapidly developing electric aviation industry. In terms of numbers, Tamarack says “a flat wing Cessna CJ/CJ1 (CitationJet) aircraft that could fly three hours nonstop prior to installing Active Winglets can now fly four hours nonstop on the same fuel with Active Winglets,” adding “a flat wing aircraft is generally a 900 nautical miles aircraft. However, equipped with Active Winglets, the same flat wing aircraft can fly at least 1,200 nautical miles”.