HARRY HEDAYA FLIES TAG's ACTIVE WINGLETS at CJP
"In a scene reminiscent of 'Back to the Future', where the Doc is monitoring the DeLorean's instruments as it navigates back and forth in time, I had the chance to flight test the Tamarack Active Winglets aerial test bed in Colorado Springs.
The main cabin had a seat pulled and there was a bunch of testing/monitoring/measuring equipment placed throughout. The panel was old school 525 but the winglets were cutting edge 21st century technology that have potential to squeeze more range and climb performance out of the 525 than any other modification I'm aware of, while giving the airplane generous amounts of ramp appeal at the same time.
The airplane easily lifted off the runway at rotation speed. My initial reaction was that it did not feel too different from a stock 525. In fact I was pleasantly surprised at the handling qualities because I was expecting a much 'heavier' feel on the yoke.
Climbing out of the first 10,000 feet things pretty much felt the same, however as we got higher I noticed the VSI was indicating significantly more climb than I am used to seeing. After a bit of back and forth between approach and center we were cleared up to FL410. The airplane made it up there in under 30 minutes (inclusive of a brief hold at 12,000 for ATC), and to my surprise used under 500 pounds of fuel to do so (I had a flight the next day in my 525 and noticed I used about 800 pounds to climb to FL390 - wow, quite a difference).
Once there, the airplane accelerated quickly to cruise speed, shedding any induced drag built up in the climb as evidenced by the AOA retreating.
I also took it off Auto Pilot (and Yaw Damper) at FL 410 and made some turns. The feel was solid and there was no hint of buffeting, yawing, or squirrelliness on the controls.
Overall I was impressed by the effectiveness of the technology. The benign nature of the installation requires no structural modifications and the fail-safe mode simply allows the active surfaces to trail on failure.
I asked about the wing bleed air potentially being extended into the winglets but was told it will not be required based on data from icing tests.
The kit comes with updated LED strobes and nav lights, making burned out nav bulbs a thing of the past.
Overall, I think the TAG's Active Winglets will be popular on the 525 based on the look and feel as well as the substantial fuel savings on every high altitude flight."
525S – ATP
Total Citation Time: 570
N525HA, S/N: 525-0081