Airbus has launched its version of the large wingtip devices called “Sharklet” for the A320 family. These devices are very similar looking to the AVP winglets found on the Boeing 737NG family.
Offered as a forward-fit option, Sharklets are specially designed to enhance the eco-efficiency and payload-range performance of the A320 Family of aircraft and are expected to result in at least an additional 3.5% reduction in fuelburn over the classic wingtip fence already fitted on A320s, over longer sectors, saving an estimated 700 tonnes CO2 emissions per aircraft per year.
Air New Zealand is the launch customer for the Sharklets with their A320s to be the first model fitted, which will be delivered around the end of 2012. Other models of the A320 family will be followed from 2013.
The Sharklet installation keeps the A320 Family within the ICAO ‘Class C’ (wingspan less than 36m) and will result in higher available take-off weights, especially from obstacle-limited runways. Where runway performance is not limited, operators will benefit from reduced engine wear and maintenance due to a reduction in average take-off thrust. Lower take-off noise, enhanced climb performance and higher initial cruise altitude are some of the other benefits of the new "Sharklets".
Airbus has conducted an extensive campaign over several years to evaluate improved large aerodynamic devices using Airbus’ company-owned A320 test aircraft and its advanced computational-fluid-dynamics (CFD) simulation-tools.
The next evolution of wingtips -- morphlets.