MIAMI — Last week, Aviation Partners Boeing (APB) received FAA certification to install Split Scimitar Winglets on Boeing 737-800 aircraft. In July, United Airlines became the first airline to fly with the new winglets when APB leased one of their 737-800s to perform FAA certification flights. United will become the first airline to fly a passenger flight with the new winglets later this year.
Aviation Partners Boeing (APB) released the design of the Split Scimitar Winglet in 2011 for the 737Max, and a retrofit program for Next Generation 737 aircraft was introduced last year. Testing of the new design began in August 2012 when a 737 Boeing Business Jet was retrofitted.
In January 2013, United became the first airline to announce plans to retrofit their aircraft with the Split Scimitar Winglets. Boeing and APB say that the Split Scimitar Winglets will have a significant reduction in aircraft drag over the basic blended winglet configuration. For United,
it is expected that the retrofit will result in up to an additional 2% fuel savings for their 737 aircraft. Further, APB expects that United can save more than $200 million per year in jet fuel costs once the new design is expanded to United’s 757 and 767 fleets.
Before any airlines could conduct a passenger flight with the winglets, APB needed airworthiness certification from the FAA. Now, they can begin to retrofit aircraft with the new winglets. United will be the first airline to retrofit an aircraft with the new winglets within the next month or two.
“The APB team’s unique expertise combined with support from the FAA allowed STC issuance to come just weeks after completion of flight tests.” said Mike Stowell, Aviation Partners Boeing executive vice president and chief technical officer.
“We have seen record breaking pre-certification orders on this program demonstrating the credibility our products have developed with the marketplace. Including our program launch customer,
United Airlines, who has now partnered with APB on five unique certification programs, we expect to see a dozen airlines operating Split Scimitar Winglets in revenue service within the next couple of months.”
Later this month, APB expects to start certification flight testing on the 737-900ER, and they are planning to receive certification by late July 2014.
So far, APB’s Split Scimitar Winglet program is the most successful product launch in its history. Since launching the program early last year, APB has taken orders and options for 1,461 Split Scimitar Winglet systems.