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Head-to-head fly-off shows Sandpoint-built technology increased fuel efficiency in airplane

by RACHEL SUN
Staff Writer | February 11, 2021 1:00 AM

A fly-off between an airplane modified with an active winglet designed by the Tamarack Aerospace Group in Sandpoint and one without was impacted by weather, but showed significantly less fuel usage for the modified airplane.

The flight, which went from the Portland International Jetport in Maine to Palm Beach International Airport in Florida, presented stronger-than expected headwinds for both airplanes, said Jacob Klinginsmith, president of Tamarack.

The flight was documented by the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association. According to a press release on the Tamarack Aerospace website, the unmodified N741CC spent 5 hours and 37 minutes in the air, and used 3,650 pounds of fuel, while the active winglet equipped Cessna CitationJet (N44VS) was able to take a more direct route and travelled 1,386 miles, spending 4 hours and 36 minutes in the air, and used a total of 2,610 pounds of fuel.

“We've always wanted to do this,” Klinginsmith said. “It's been something that's been on our mind for quite a while.”

When looking at the price of airplane fuel, that reduction in fuel usage would mean roughly $700 less spent on fuel, he said.

Because the non-modified plane had to stop for fuel, it required a slightly longer route. However, the plane with the company’s winglets had a roughly 30% more efficient flight, he said, and the winglets have the ability to increase efficiency by as much as 33%, he said.

The modified plane also took off with an additional 200-pound weight penalty, according to a press release.

The flight is significant, Klinginsmith said, because there are rarely options to compare flights with the same weather conditions — in this case, an ice storm that hugged the East Coast.

The results are also significant, he said, because of the push toward increasing sustainability within aviation.

“Coronavirus has slowed down air traffic a lot, which really brought more attention to the importance of sustainability for aviation,” he said.

The company, which started this year, is looking to grow, and hire more people, he said, both from Sandpoint, and outside of it.

More information is available at tamarackaero.com