Airbus has completed the first flight of the company’s A320 development aircraft MSN001 F-WWBA fitted with the new ‘Sharklet’ wing-tip devices.
|Airbus A320 MSN001 F-WWBA takes off for its first flight equipped with “Sharklets”|
This flight marks the start of the early flight-test campaign to capture data for fine-tuning the flight control laws required for the fly-by-wire controls, as well as for certification and performance validation.
|The current A320 wingtip fence in
yellow vs. the Boeing 737 winglet
Photo by Wikipedia user Dtom
The current generation of A320 family aircraft use the wingtip fence. Sharklets are around 2.5 metres tall, very similar to the wingtip devices used on the Boeing 737NG, and will replace the aircraft’s current wingtip fence.
Due to significant changes in the aerodynamics of Sharklets, Airbus will have to modify the wing of the A320 family aircraft and therefore will offer the Sharklets only as an option of new aircraft. Air New Zealand will be the launch customer of the Sharklet equipped A320 classic. The Sharklets will be standard on the A320neo, whose launch customer is Qatar Airways, thanks to the hard bargaining, some may call it tantrums, of its CEO Akbar Al Bakar at the recent Dubai air show.
All the images are ultra-high resolution. Click on them for a HUGE view. For more reading on various wingtip devices we recommend reading this article.