Tyson Teeter Files the Active Winglet Equipped CJ1+ at Mackinac Island, MI

“I had the opportunity to experience the Tamarack aircraft for the first time at the Mackinac CJP event. Pilots such as me with over 9000 hours of experience helping others learn to “KNOW” their aircraft, and about 1500 hours in CJs, as well as over 1000 hours in other aircraft with a horseshoe painted on it, don’t always have 100% confidence when a new mod comes out for our chariots. Not every company that comes along puts their money where their ad is. I was ready to put it through the paces and see what there was to see.

This was the first “production” CJ with the winglets. On first observation I was encouraged by their design as it seemed to solve the riddle of “what” to do to combat excessive wing loading to an aircraft that was never designed for winglets. The engineering just makes sense. From there, they solved the issue of “how”. The hardware and mechanical function was astounding. In my experience, however, my first task in any aircraft engineering marvel produced, is to solve for what to do when things don’t work. These are machines after all. There shouldn’t be some complex procedure when that happens. Seems they had the answer… Simply slow below 140kts. Done! It was also nice to see that there was no complexity added to the panel. One small annunciation button indicates functionality, a test procedure, and the notation of the speed required if she happens to illuminate. It was nice to notice that it remained quietly out of sight for the duration of all my flights. Brian produced some number higher than I can count in the millions of cycles without failure. 

For the flight, the team at Tamarack had an unexpected goliath to conquer for this day; ISA +15 temperatures. Brian sat in the back and seemed to smile without worry, however. At MTO she leaped off the runway without issue, I went to a .4 AOA and locked it there. The deck angle was pretty impressive. And the Vertical Speed did not disappoint either. Through 10,000 feet we were still sporting over 3500 FPM. Through 15,000 Feet, it settled back but was still over 3000 FPM. For my comparison purposes, I brought out my own secret weapon to compare this “new” beast; the original CJ1+ flight planning guide I had from my old demo days. Opening to the Climb Perf page, we began to record at each benchmark. The results; 1 to 2 minutes behind book numbers all the way to FL410… At ISA +15!!! The book is written at ISA. That, and through FL350, we were still pushing 1000 FPM.  My quote of the flight that I seemed to repeat out loud often was, “The CJ1+ just doesn’t do that!” In my experience, on a stock bird, we would elect to level at FL370 or FL380 to ensure the rest of the flight wasn’t in peril of hanging on the engines until we burned off sufficient fuel to get up on step. But no, Brian came forward to give me some new numbers he wanted me to fly on up to altitude. These were a little slower than I was accustomed to operating “normally”. But hey, it’s his airplane and product to prove, so aggressively climb we did. Just prior to FL410 it was still at 500 FPM as we leveled in our 23 minute journey so far.  If that weren’t enough to sell me, I started the clock to see how long it took to recover. A quick check revealed we were just crossing the threshold of 10,000 lbs. ATC then through a curve at us (no pun intended) and asked us to start our 180 degree turn back. 7 minutes to max TAS!!… In a turn… at ISA +10… Below .4 AOA! Without shutting one down, I’m not sure we could have made the test harder. Once settled down, we were traveling at 384kts, which is about 10kts faster than book at ISA. Fuel flow was down significantly. We powered back a bit to get back to the regular book numbers. This yielded 60PPH less than typical fuel flow. Again, it’s hot up here too!

On the approach, I kicked off the autopilot and yaw damper to feel the airplane. It was a considerably bumpy day with fair wind gusts. It was fun to look out the window and watch the TACs wave hello back at me as they unloaded the extra lift the winglets were creating. To my satisfaction, the happy puppy tail wag was non-existent in the aircraft throughout the approach as I would have normally seen without these devices.

After shutdown on our 51 min flight to FL410 and back to earth, we noted a total fuel burn of 660 pounds. Not too shabby! My experience was excellent. I tip my Captain’s hat to the team at Tamarack. You’ve done a splendid job and made something quite useful!”

- Tyson Teeter / SouthWind Global Aviation