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Trimeresurus
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Why did Airbus switch to winglets so late in the A320

Sun Jan 31, 2021 3:17 pm

Compared to the 737NG which was offered with winglets since it's rollout in 1998, I think the A320s only started having them in 2012. And imo it looks strange to see it on the A320 series(as well as 757/767) since in my mind I'm so accustomed to seeing them with old wingtip devices and narrow body with long thin winglet=737NG for me.
 
VSMUT
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Re: Why did Airbus switch to winglets so late in the A320

Sun Jan 31, 2021 3:55 pm

Because Airbus had the wing fence on the A320 pretty much from the start (Delivered to Ansett in November 1988), which while not as good as the blended winglet, was still better than anything Boeing had until the blended winglet came along.

Trimeresurus wrote:
Compared to the 737NG which was offered with winglets since it's rollout in 1998


Not quite. The 737NG didn't get winglets until 2000, although a BBJ was tested with them in 1998.
 
Trimeresurus
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Re: Why did Airbus switch to winglets so late in the A320

Sun Jan 31, 2021 4:45 pm

VSMUT wrote:
Because Airbus had the wing fence on the A320 pretty much from the start (Delivered to Ansett in November 1988), which while not as good as the blended winglet, was still better than anything Boeing had until the blended winglet came along.

Trimeresurus wrote:
Compared to the 737NG which was offered with winglets since it's rollout in 1998


Not quite. The 737NG didn't get winglets until 2000, although a BBJ was tested with them in 1998.


Still, we are talking about a period of a decade or longer when the default 737 had winglets and the A320 didn't.
 
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Re: Why did Airbus switch to winglets so late in the A320

Sun Jan 31, 2021 9:48 pm

That’s important, why? Just trying to understand your question, concern. Operators probably didn’t see a cost savings in winglets in the A320 design or Airbus had to get enough buyers to justify the engineering and certification costs to STC them. Lots of great ideas get sunk when the cost/value to the buyer doesn’t create enough takers for the firm to invest. IOW, Money.

Having worked at an OEM, it’s amazing how many customer “requests” fail once the price tag has put on item and the benefits are seen to not be much.
Last edited by GalaxyFlyer on Sun Jan 31, 2021 10:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
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zeke
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Re: Why did Airbus switch to winglets so late in the A320

Sun Jan 31, 2021 10:14 pm

Trimeresurus wrote:
Still, we are talking about a period of a decade or longer when the default 737 had winglets and the A320 didn't.


Obviously the A320 wing didn’t need it to remain competitive for so long.
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Re: Why did Airbus switch to winglets so late in the A320

Sun Jan 31, 2021 11:10 pm

zeke wrote:
Trimeresurus wrote:
Still, we are talking about a period of a decade or longer when the default 737 had winglets and the A320 didn't.


Obviously the A320 wing didn’t need it to remain competitive for so long.


Yeah, I’m not sure why this is odd to people. A generic winglet will help the “clean” 73G wing more than the wingtip fenced 320 wing. I know the wings aren’t the same so it isn’t quite apples-to-apples, but isn’t that more or less self-evident?
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Re: Why did Airbus switch to winglets so late in the A320

Mon Feb 01, 2021 12:48 am

Also there were modifications that had to be made to the structure of the A320 wing to accommodate winglets, and it can only be applied after a certain LN (1200 IIRC).
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Re: Why did Airbus switch to winglets so late in the A320

Mon Feb 01, 2021 2:00 am

Philippine747 wrote:
Also there were modifications that had to be made to the structure of the A320 wing to accommodate winglets, and it can only be applied after a certain LN (1200 IIRC).


Exactly, if I recall correctly, there were quite a few airlines who initially commented they would be installing the "sharklets" across their 320 family fleets. Yet in actuality, once the costs of midifying the wing structure was taken into account, it didn't make sense. The older aircraft needed extensive mods to the wing which ate up any cost in fuel savings. JetBlue initially committed to retrofitting its entire fleet before it was known that the additional modifications would be needed. Much different from the 737 which didn't require much to add the winglets on.

http://www.airlinesanddestinations.com/ ... sharklets/
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Re: Why did Airbus switch to winglets so late in the A320

Mon Feb 01, 2021 2:23 am

zeke wrote:
Trimeresurus wrote:
Still, we are talking about a period of a decade or longer when the default 737 had winglets and the A320 didn't.


Obviously the A320 wing didn’t need it to remain competitive for so long.


Hmm. So some magic date happened around ten years ago when the long-time wingleted 737NG started upstaging the A320ceo?
 
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zeke
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Re: Why did Airbus switch to winglets so late in the A320

Mon Feb 01, 2021 2:31 am

TTailedTiger wrote:
Hmm. So some magic date happened around ten years ago when the long-time wingleted 737NG started upstaging the A320ceo?


Who said the 737NG was upstaging, and not just catching up ?
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Re: Why did Airbus switch to winglets so late in the A320

Mon Feb 01, 2021 2:37 am

zeke wrote:
TTailedTiger wrote:
Hmm. So some magic date happened around ten years ago when the long-time wingleted 737NG started upstaging the A320ceo?


Who said the 737NG was upstaging, and not just catching up ?


So then why the need for the more expensive sharklets on the A320? Why not just continue with the old wing fences if they were better than 737NG winglets? Do you have any studies that backup your claims?
 
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Re: Why did Airbus switch to winglets so late in the A320

Mon Feb 01, 2021 3:47 am

Improved understanding of the aerodynamics involved, better structure at later builds, different cost estimates—fuel price, longer average segments flown, lots of reasons usually specific and proprietary to those involved.
 
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Re: Why did Airbus switch to winglets so late in the A320

Mon Feb 01, 2021 4:04 am

zeke wrote:

Who said the 737NG was upstaging, and not just catching up ?


At the risk of going into A v B territory, I see it as a bit of both. The 737 Classic couldn't really do a transcon and certainly couldn't handle the flight to Hawaii from the West Coast. Boeing initially thought that incremental improvements to the 737 Classic would be adequate to keep the A320 at bay, but it soon became apparent that the A320 was a far more capable airplane than the 737 Classic, so Boeing came up with the 737NG. By the time the NG had EIS the A320 had already been flying for a decade, so Boeing had some opportunities to upstage the A320 in a few areas. Their 737 could do the trip to Hawaii pretty much out of the box and Aloha Airlines made use of that. The A320 only started flying to Hawaii in the last 15 years or so. The 737 winglet wasn't an initial standard but was added pretty soon after EIS and that boosted the performance another 5% or so and by the end of production, I think they were standard equipment. So that left Airbus playing some catch-up with their airplane and the sharklets were part of that program.

But when it came time to re-engine these two competing models, Airbus definitely took the initiative and left Boeing playing catch-up, and of course, we all know how that worked out.
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Re: Why did Airbus switch to winglets so late in the A320

Mon Feb 01, 2021 5:56 am

Trimeresurus wrote:
VSMUT wrote:
Because Airbus had the wing fence on the A320 pretty much from the start (Delivered to Ansett in November 1988), which while not as good as the blended winglet, was still better than anything Boeing had until the blended winglet came along.

Trimeresurus wrote:
Compared to the 737NG which was offered with winglets since it's rollout in 1998


Not quite. The 737NG didn't get winglets until 2000, although a BBJ was tested with them in 1998.


Still, we are talking about a period of a decade or longer when the default 737 had winglets and the A320 didn't.


Not quite a decade. Airbus launched the A320 Enhanced program in 2006. The target was a 4-5% efficiency gain through winglets, aerodynamic improvements (new belly fairing), engine improvements, weight savings, new cabin and many smaller items like replacing light bulbs with LEDs. These were gradually introduced, culminating in the final A320ceo versions which were pretty much identical to an A320neo except for the engines. Already in 2006 Airbus started testing several different winglet designs, with one similar to what would eventually find its way onto the A350 and another similar to that of the A330/340.

Image

At the time it was decided that the fuel savings didn't make up for the added weight. Remember, the A320 already had wing fences, so unlike the 737NG, adding winglets didn't provide that much more.

Then in 2009 Airbus started testing a new design, which apparently solved the weight vs efficiency issues of earlier. This is the design that entered service in 2012.


shamrock137 wrote:
Much different from the 737 which didn't require much to add the winglets on.


That's not true. 737NGs required just as extensive modifications. The difference is that Boeing started incorporating the modifications into the production line early on. Some early 737NGs, particularly at SAS, never received winglets for this reason. There is also a bunch of early un-wingletted 737NGs in Russia, China and South Korea. You still found 737NGs being delivered without winglets pretty late on. All Nippon opted to have its aircraft delivered without winglets for a long time, fitting them themselves after delivery. A quick search found that some Air China 737-800s were delivered in 2010 without winglets, and didn't receive them until the aircraft were sold on to a new operator.
 
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Re: Why did Airbus switch to winglets so late in the A320

Mon Feb 01, 2021 8:42 am

Cubsrule wrote:
zeke wrote:
Trimeresurus wrote:
Still, we are talking about a period of a decade or longer when the default 737 had winglets and the A320 didn't.


Obviously the A320 wing didn’t need it to remain competitive for so long.


Yeah, I’m not sure why this is odd to people. A generic winglet will help the “clean” 73G wing more than the wingtip fenced 320 wing. I know the wings aren’t the same so it isn’t quite apples-to-apples, but isn’t that more or less self-evident?


Boeing pushed for PR "only our style of winglets is worth anything at all". Beautifully taken up by the fan community.

Reality is the wingtip fences were pretty effective. ( but with a different "map of gains coverage" )
The NG needed those winglets to keep up with the "as is of the time" A320.

The sharklets finally adopted by airbus seem to show gains _over_ the fences comparable to the blendet winglets of the 737NG over the NG's naked wing tip.
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Re: Why did Airbus switch to winglets so late in the A320

Mon Feb 01, 2021 8:48 am

shamrock137 wrote:
Exactly, if I recall correctly, there were quite a few airlines who initially commented they would be installing the "sharklets" across their 320 family fleets. Yet in actuality, once the costs of midifying the wing structure was taken into account, it didn't make sense.


Afair the "back fit" sharklets are not exactly the same as those that get fitted in the factory ( or those frames that were already set up to take them )
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Re: Why did Airbus switch to winglets so late in the A320

Mon Feb 01, 2021 9:00 am

AFAIK the first issue was that Airbus didn't want to pay initially the full price for adding the Aviation Partners blended winglets to the A320
For that reason Airbus developed a slightly "modified" blended winglet to avoid patent issues.
In 2011, Airbus finally began to offer its own version of winglets, called Sharklets.
Aviation Partners sued Airbus, claiming that they used experiments with the original blended winglet design to come up with its model. In the end, Airbus lost the lawsuit and paid out an undisclosed sum to Aviation Partners.

The second reason, as noted earlier in the thread was that the A320 wing had not enough strength to counter the extra forces put at the wing structure by the winglets (sharklets), requiring far more modifications than the 737NG wing.
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Re: Why did Airbus switch to winglets so late in the A320

Mon Feb 01, 2021 11:55 am

VSMUT wrote:
Trimeresurus wrote:
VSMUT wrote:
Because Airbus had the wing fence on the A320 pretty much from the start (Delivered to Ansett in November 1988), which while not as good as the blended winglet, was still better than anything Boeing had until the blended winglet came along.



Not quite. The 737NG didn't get winglets until 2000, although a BBJ was tested with them in 1998.


Still, we are talking about a period of a decade or longer when the default 737 had winglets and the A320 didn't.


Not quite a decade. Airbus launched the A320 Enhanced program in 2006. The target was a 4-5% efficiency gain through winglets, aerodynamic improvements (new belly fairing), engine improvements, weight savings, new cabin and many smaller items like replacing light bulbs with LEDs. These were gradually introduced, culminating in the final A320ceo versions which were pretty much identical to an A320neo except for the engines. Already in 2006 Airbus started testing several different winglet designs, with one similar to what would eventually find its way onto the A350 and another similar to that of the A330/340..


It should be noted that JetBlue was one of the major pushers for winglets on the A320, I think one of their planes was also used to test a winglet design. They desperately wanted them so the A320 would have reliable winter US transcon range after using an ACT turned out to be a failure (extra fuel capacity was cancelled out by extra weight of fuel/tank).
 
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Re: Why did Airbus switch to winglets so late in the A320

Mon Feb 01, 2021 12:10 pm

I suspect that the winglets were financed within the development budget for the neo.

Then made available on new-build ceos which served as in-service test beds. Then made available for retro-fit to existing ceos - limited in practice to those pre-built with the necessary wing strengthening.
 
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Re: Why did Airbus switch to winglets so late in the A320

Mon Feb 01, 2021 12:21 pm

WIederling wrote:
shamrock137 wrote:
Exactly, if I recall correctly, there were quite a few airlines who initially commented they would be installing the "sharklets" across their 320 family fleets. Yet in actuality, once the costs of midifying the wing structure was taken into account, it didn't make sense.


Afair the "back fit" sharklets are not exactly the same as those that get fitted in the factory ( or those frames that were already set up to take them )


In the back of my head there is a memory of a video of airbus doing some very careful measuring with a ruler on an A320 wing and then going at it with a circular saw!! It made me wince as it looked like the Makita one I have in the shed!

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Re: Why did Airbus switch to winglets so late in the A320

Mon Feb 01, 2021 1:08 pm

TTailedTiger wrote:
zeke wrote:
Trimeresurus wrote:
Still, we are talking about a period of a decade or longer when the default 737 had winglets and the A320 didn't.


Obviously the A320 wing didn’t need it to remain competitive for so long.


Hmm. So some magic date happened around ten years ago when the long-time wingleted 737NG started upstaging the A320ceo?


The "Magic" is quite simple: The A320 Wing was already fully supercritical, as were all Airbus wings after the A310, the 737NG wing only partially so, the A320 already had wing tip fences, the 737 didn´t. There was just more margin for improvement to pay for the winglets, their weight and the weight of the structure to hold them. It also made it more difficult to design winglets that generated enough benefit. Remember Airbus first new winglet attempt, the more square design? That just wasn´t good enough.

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Re: Why did Airbus switch to winglets so late in the A320

Mon Feb 01, 2021 2:55 pm

747classic wrote:
Aviation Partners sued Airbus, claiming that they used experiments with the original blended winglet design to come up with its model. In the end, Airbus lost the lawsuit and paid out an undisclosed sum to Aviation Partners.
.


Airbus got the AP patent voided. ( "generic optimization patent" and "prior art".)

I don't think AP got much out of it.
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shamrock137
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Re: Why did Airbus switch to winglets so late in the A320

Mon Feb 01, 2021 6:20 pm

VSMUT wrote:
shamrock137 wrote:
Much different from the 737 which didn't require much to add the winglets on.


That's not true. 737NGs required just as extensive modifications. The difference is that Boeing started incorporating the modifications into the production line early on. Some early 737NGs, particularly at SAS, never received winglets for this reason. There is also a bunch of early un-wingletted 737NGs in Russia, China and South Korea. You still found 737NGs being delivered without winglets pretty late on. All Nippon opted to have its aircraft delivered without winglets for a long time, fitting them themselves after delivery. A quick search found that some Air China 737-800s were delivered in 2010 without winglets, and didn't receive them until the aircraft were sold on to a new operator.


Interesting! Thought they were setup for them right from the start.
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N1120A
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Re: Why did Airbus switch to winglets so late in the A320

Mon Feb 01, 2021 9:46 pm

zeke wrote:
Trimeresurus wrote:
Still, we are talking about a period of a decade or longer when the default 737 had winglets and the A320 didn't.


Obviously the A320 wing didn’t need it to remain competitive for so long.


Is that why the 737-800 handily outsold the A320, despite the A320 having had a decade head start?
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TTailedTiger
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Re: Why did Airbus switch to winglets so late in the A320

Mon Feb 01, 2021 11:38 pm

N1120A wrote:
zeke wrote:
Trimeresurus wrote:
Still, we are talking about a period of a decade or longer when the default 737 had winglets and the A320 didn't.


Obviously the A320 wing didn’t need it to remain competitive for so long.


Is that why the 737-800 handily outsold the A320, despite the A320 having had a decade head start?


Yeah my feelings as well. As mentioned earlier, the 737NG could do Hawaii to mainland even without winglets. It could also handle winter transcon flights better as well. It wasn't uncommon to see JetBlue A320's make diversions for fuel in the winter. I enjoy flying on both planes but the idea that A320 was superior in every way just doesn't hold up.
 
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Re: Why did Airbus switch to winglets so late in the A320

Mon Feb 01, 2021 11:53 pm

N1120A wrote:
Is that why the 737-800 handily outsold the A320, despite the A320 having had a decade head start?


I think that all depends on how people try and look at things, to the end of 2020 there has been 9693 A320 series delivered since EIS in 1988, over the same timeframe there has been 8476 737 series delivered.

Source
https://www.airbus.com/content/dam/corp ... craft.xlsx
A318 80
A319ceo 1482
A319neo 2
A320ceo 4752
A320neo 1147
A321ceo 1762
A321neo 468
Grand Total 9693

https://www.boeing.com/commercial/ (delivery report 1988-2020 all 737 models selected).
https://public.tableau.com/shared/SFH2D ... k&:embed=y

737-200 7
737-300 766
737-400 486
737-500 389
737-600 69
737-700 1128
737-700C 22
737-700W 14
737-800 4989
737-800A 140
737-900 52
737 MAX 414
Grand Total 8476
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Re: Why did Airbus switch to winglets so late in the A320

Tue Feb 02, 2021 10:41 am

TTailedTiger wrote:
N1120A wrote:
zeke wrote:

Obviously the A320 wing didn’t need it to remain competitive for so long.


Is that why the 737-800 handily outsold the A320, despite the A320 having had a decade head start?


Yeah my feelings as well. As mentioned earlier, the 737NG could do Hawaii to mainland even without winglets. It could also handle winter transcon flights better as well. It wasn't uncommon to see JetBlue A320's make diversions for fuel in the winter. I enjoy flying on both planes but the idea that A320 was superior in every way just doesn't hold up.


the ~2200L more internal fuel volume may have something to do with that.

best regards
Thomas
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Re: Why did Airbus switch to winglets so late in the A320

Tue Feb 02, 2021 1:59 pm

N1120A wrote:
zeke wrote:
Trimeresurus wrote:
Still, we are talking about a period of a decade or longer when the default 737 had winglets and the A320 didn't.


Obviously the A320 wing didn’t need it to remain competitive for so long.


Is that why the 737-800 handily outsold the A320, despite the A320 having had a decade head start?


too lazy to look at sales numbers.
deliveries are easier.

Boeing had a good run for the Classic before the NG deliveries started.
But for whatever reason Boeing could not hold that up after 2001/2 and with the NG
see graph in this paragraph:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Airbus_A3 ... ompetition
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Re: Why did Airbus switch to winglets so late in the A320

Tue Feb 02, 2021 2:26 pm

WIederling wrote:
N1120A wrote:
zeke wrote:

Obviously the A320 wing didn’t need it to remain competitive for so long.


Is that why the 737-800 handily outsold the A320, despite the A320 having had a decade head start?


too lazy to look at sales numbers.
deliveries are easier.

Boeing had a good run for the Classic before the NG deliveries started.
But for whatever reason Boeing could not hold that up after 2001/2 and with the NG
see graph in this paragraph:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Airbus_A3 ... ompetition


I think he means the 738 vs. the A320 specifically, not the whole family.

best regards
Thomas
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Re: Why did Airbus switch to winglets so late in the A320

Tue Feb 02, 2021 2:48 pm

The winglet has been such a staple on the 737 series it is odd to see one without them. I found it very odd to see an SY 738 on the ramp at MSP the other day without winglets. Definitely the exception to the rule.

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Re: Why did Airbus switch to winglets so late in the A320

Tue Feb 02, 2021 6:36 pm

While blended wingtip look simple, they're a tricky subject and it took years (err decades) to refine and develop effective modeling (CFD, etc) to be able to rapidly iterate and produce optimized solutions.

Aviation Partners Inc (API) was an early leader in this field. In the late 90's, they entered a joint-venture with Boeing (Aviation Partners Boeing... APB) to advance blended winglet technology, which is primary the technology seen on the 737 NG's.

My understanding is that Airbus worked with APB to further optimize wing performance on the A320 series above the standard wingtip fence, and had settled on a design with worthy improvement. However, Airbus bulked at the commercial terms and eventually decided to invest in further developing their version avoiding the API and APB patents. It's likely they were working on their own technology in parallel with the discussions with APB and this further fueled the storyline they stole APB IP (intellectual property) for their own advancement under the disguise of showing genuine interest in partnering with them. It took several years for Airbus to complete the development process and commercialize the improved product (sharklets). Interesting to note, for a while Airbus suggested publically that their wingtip fences were superior to blended wingtips, typically arguing that for "standard missions", the additional weight of blended wingtips on short flights burned more fuel than the saved on long flights. Obviously, history suggests otherwise although it is fair to note that adjusted average stage lengths have been increasing over the years, and the longer the stage, the better the payback performance comes from drag reductions even though they increase empty weight.

Late Edit: it's also important to remember that the cost of fuel strongly includes the investment calculus regarding wingtips. It's expensive to develop and certify new products for new builds, and rather expensive to take airplanes out service and retrofit improvements. With lower oil pricing, payback period could be 5+ years or more. WIth high oil pricing, the PBP could be a short as a year. The standardization of NB wing tips started after the 2008 oil spike. Even though oil prices have been low (relatively) since, they're also a hedge against future increases.

A prime example is the further improvement to the NG wingtip launched several years ago (Scimitar). United, Copa, others invested heavily and retrofitted nearly all planes. Meanwhile American hasn't retrofitted their 738's. Southwest has a mixed fleet. The reason are the economics are borderline and depending on how each corporation prioritizes, they reach different conclusions.

Finally, the additional performance gains (at range) can be critical for some networks more so than others. Copa is a great example. They were an early adopter of the Scimitar units as they needed the additional performance on their long routes (LAX, SFO, MVD, EZE, SCL, etc)
Last edited by Okcflyer on Tue Feb 02, 2021 6:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
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Re: Why did Airbus switch to winglets so late in the A320

Tue Feb 02, 2021 6:48 pm

WIederling wrote:
Airbus got the AP patent voided. ( "generic optimization patent" and "prior art".)

I don't think AP got much out of it.

How do they get anything at all if their patents were voided?
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Re: Why did Airbus switch to winglets so late in the A320

Tue Feb 02, 2021 6:58 pm

zeke wrote:
N1120A wrote:
Is that why the 737-800 handily outsold the A320, despite the A320 having had a decade head start?


I think that all depends on how people try and look at things, to the end of 2020 there has been 9693 A320 series delivered since EIS in 1988, over the same timeframe there has been 8476 737 series delivered.



You said the A320. You were comparing the NG and CEO. Apples to apples, the 738 handily outsold the A320, despite the A320 having a decade headstart.
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Why did Airbus switch to winglets so late in the A320

Tue Feb 02, 2021 9:32 pm

N1120A wrote:
zeke wrote:
N1120A wrote:
Is that why the 737-800 handily outsold the A320, despite the A320 having had a decade head start?


I think that all depends on how people try and look at things, to the end of 2020 there has been 9693 A320 series delivered since EIS in 1988, over the same timeframe there has been 8476 737 series delivered.



You said the A320. You were comparing the NG and CEO. Apples to apples, the 738 handily outsold the A320, despite the A320 having a decade headstart.


Zeke (and others) would have been referring to the series in general as the tip devices are on all A320 series, just like the APB winglets are available on all 737NG models save for the -600....this discussion would not be covering just the A320-200 or 737-800 specifically
 
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747classic
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Re: Why did Airbus switch to winglets so late in the A320

Wed Feb 03, 2021 9:39 am

Revelation wrote:
WIederling wrote:
Airbus got the AP patent voided. ( "generic optimization patent" and "prior art".)

I don't think AP got much out of it.

How do they get anything at all if their patents were voided?


Airbus worked with Aviation Partners from 2006 through 2011. In 2011, however, Airbus announced that it came up with its own design, which it branded "sharklets," and obtained a patent in Europe.
In December 2011, Airbus filed suit in Texas seeking to invalidate Aviation Partners' 1994 winglet patent.
See : https://www.seattletimes.com/business/s ... s-lawsuit/

Airbus settled the lawsuit by making a large payment to Aviation Partners in 2018, see : https://www.bizjournals.com/seattle/new ... spute.html
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747classic
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Re: Why did Airbus switch to winglets so late in the A320

Wed Feb 03, 2021 10:28 am

747classic wrote:
Revelation wrote:
WIederling wrote:
Airbus got the AP patent voided. ( "generic optimization patent" and "prior art".)

I don't think AP got much out of it.

How do they get anything at all if their patents were voided?


Airbus worked with Aviation Partners from 2006 through 2011. In 2011, however, Airbus announced that it came up with its own design, which it branded "sharklets," and obtained a patent in Europe.
In December 2011, Airbus filed suit in Texas seeking to invalidate Aviation Partners' 1994 winglet patent.
See : https://www.seattletimes.com/business/s ... s-lawsuit/

Airbus settled the lawsuit by making a large payment to Aviation Partners in 2018, see : https://www.bizjournals.com/seattle/new ... spute.html


After some searching I found Aviation Partners' 1994 winglet patent., see : https://patentimages.storage.googleapis ... 348253.pdf

Interesting is the last page : THE PATENT IS HEREBY AMENDED AS INDICATED BELOW :
AS A RESULT OF REEXAMINATION, IT HAS BEEN DETERMINED THAT : CLAIM 1 IS CANCELLED, CLAIM 2-5 WERE NOT REEXAMINED.

So, part of the patent has been partly voided , probably after a large sum has been payed by Airbus.
Operating a twin over the ocean, you're always one engine failure from a total emergency.
 
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Revelation
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Re: Why did Airbus switch to winglets so late in the A320

Wed Feb 03, 2021 2:40 pm

747classic wrote:
After some searching I found Aviation Partners' 1994 winglet patent., see : https://patentimages.storage.googleapis ... 348253.pdf

Interesting is the last page : THE PATENT IS HEREBY AMENDED AS INDICATED BELOW :
AS A RESULT OF REEXAMINATION, IT HAS BEEN DETERMINED THAT : CLAIM 1 IS CANCELLED, CLAIM 2-5 WERE NOT REEXAMINED.

So, part of the patent has been partly voided , probably after a large sum has been payed by Airbus.

Thank you for doing the research, the results are quite interesting.
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zeke
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Re: Why did Airbus switch to winglets so late in the A320

Wed Feb 03, 2021 8:40 pm

Revelation wrote:
Thank you for doing the research, the results are quite interesting.


What is public record is that Boeing and Airbus both had patents for winglets and wing tip devices before APB filed their patent in 1993. The wing fence used by Airbus was patented in 1983 (EP0122790B1), it was not cited by APB in their patent application. Airbus even had winglet patents going back to the 1970s (filed by MBB) Eg 1971 patent DE2149956A1 Hochauftriebsfluegel

What isn’t common knowledge is the 737-800 was not meeting specified fuel burn,

“Prior to the modification program, American’s 737-800 fleet was operating at an average +2.2 percent fuel burn over the specification, or book, level (worse than design level). The modification program had the potential to return fuel burn to book level or better. The first winglets were installed on the 737-800, and the modified aircraft became operational in October 2005.”

subsequent to the modification they calculated the savings

“American used two separate methods (actual flight burn data and aircraft performance monitoring software) to calculate the fuel savings realized by the winglet modification of its 737 and its 757 aircraft. Those calculations demonstrate a fuel savings for the 737-800 aircraft of 3.2 percent when compared to its 737-800 nonwinglet fleet. This equated to 32 gal of fuel saved per flight hour.”

So effectively the blended winglet provided a benefit of just 1% (+2.2-3.2) on the specification fuel burn.

From pages 45-47 National Research Council. 2007. Assessment of Wingtip Modifications to Increase the Fuel Efficiency of Air Force Aircraft. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. https://doi.org/10.17226/11839.
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GalaxyFlyer
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Re: Why did Airbus switch to winglets so late in the A320

Wed Feb 03, 2021 9:23 pm

Dassault FalconJet used to go to the NBAA every year and proclaim winglets were a fix for deficient wing design, they built better wings that didn’t need to be fixed. Until, one year, a DA2000 showed up with winglets! Surprise!
 
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Revelation
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Re: Why did Airbus switch to winglets so late in the A320

Wed Feb 03, 2021 9:27 pm

zeke wrote:
What is public record is that Boeing and Airbus both had patents for winglets and wing tip devices before APB filed their patent in 1993. The wing fence used by Airbus was patented in 1983 (EP0122790B1), it was not cited by APB in their patent application. Airbus even had winglet patents going back to the 1970s (filed by MBB) Eg 1971 patent DE2149956A1 Hochauftriebsfluegel

What isn’t common knowledge is the 737-800 was not meeting specified fuel burn,

“Prior to the modification program, American’s 737-800 fleet was operating at an average +2.2 percent fuel burn over the specification, or book, level (worse than design level). The modification program had the potential to return fuel burn to book level or better. The first winglets were installed on the 737-800, and the modified aircraft became operational in October 2005.”

subsequent to the modification they calculated the savings

“American used two separate methods (actual flight burn data and aircraft performance monitoring software) to calculate the fuel savings realized by the winglet modification of its 737 and its 757 aircraft. Those calculations demonstrate a fuel savings for the 737-800 aircraft of 3.2 percent when compared to its 737-800 nonwinglet fleet. This equated to 32 gal of fuel saved per flight hour.”

So effectively the blended winglet provided a benefit of just 1% (+2.2-3.2) on the specification fuel burn.

From pages 45-47 National Research Council. 2007. Assessment of Wingtip Modifications to Increase the Fuel Efficiency of Air Force Aircraft. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. https://doi.org/10.17226/11839.

Same comment: Thank you for doing the research, the results are quite interesting.
Wake up to find out that you are the eyes of the world
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WIederling
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Re: Why did Airbus switch to winglets so late in the A320

Thu Feb 04, 2021 5:08 pm

Revelation wrote:
WIederling wrote:
Airbus got the AP patent voided. ( "generic optimization patent" and "prior art".)

I don't think AP got much out of it.

How do they get anything at all if their patents were voided?


IMU development/assisstance services ( nn hours ) but not royalties per item installed.

The patent was voided
A: as it described a generic optimization process and nothing tangible.
B: existing prior art

a trail of the proceedings used to be available via the patent document on the USPTO web site.
( lost my link and haven't looked to refind it. )
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WIederling
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Re: Why did Airbus switch to winglets so late in the A320

Thu Feb 04, 2021 5:16 pm

747classic wrote:
747classic wrote:
Revelation wrote:
How do they get anything at all if their patents were voided?


Airbus worked with Aviation Partners from 2006 through 2011. In 2011, however, Airbus announced that it came up with its own design, which it branded "sharklets," and obtained a patent in Europe.
In December 2011, Airbus filed suit in Texas seeking to invalidate Aviation Partners' 1994 winglet patent.
See : https://www.seattletimes.com/business/s ... s-lawsuit/

Airbus settled the lawsuit by making a large payment to Aviation Partners in 2018, see : https://www.bizjournals.com/seattle/new ... spute.html


After some searching I found Aviation Partners' 1994 winglet patent., see : https://patentimages.storage.googleapis ... 348253.pdf

Interesting is the last page : THE PATENT IS HEREBY AMENDED AS INDICATED BELOW :
AS A RESULT OF REEXAMINATION, IT HAS BEEN DETERMINED THAT : CLAIM 1 IS CANCELLED, CLAIM 2-5 WERE NOT REEXAMINED.


Afair:
Claim 1 was the core claim. 2-5 extended claim 1 ( and thus needed claim 1 to be valid.
i.e voiding claim 1 toppled the house of cards. )

So, part of the patent has been partly voided , probably after a large sum has been payed by Airbus.


sure, only corruption or some bits of exceptional luck can bring success to foreign entities.
How faint.
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CrimsonNL
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Re: Why did Airbus switch to winglets so late in the A320

Thu Feb 04, 2021 6:24 pm

flipdewaf wrote:

In the back of my head there is a memory of a video of airbus doing some very careful measuring with a ruler on an A320 wing and then going at it with a circular saw!! It made me wince as it looked like the Makita one I have in the shed!


Hah! I remember that video, I really cringed when they sawed of part of the wing.

This is the video, at about 1:35

https://youtu.be/eoswy2rIW5U
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Re: Why did Airbus switch to winglets so late in the A320

Fri Feb 05, 2021 3:43 am

GalaxyFlyer wrote:
Dassault FalconJet used to go to the NBAA every year and proclaim winglets were a fix for deficient wing design, they built better wings that didn’t need to be fixed. Until, one year, a DA2000 showed up with winglets! Surprise!


Salespeople will be salespeople. :D
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KFLLCFII
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Re: Why did Airbus switch to winglets so late in the A320

Sun Feb 07, 2021 9:52 am

It's amazing how light those structural components in the video look, for the amount of forces they can endure.

I wonder how heavy the largest individual structural components on the A319 would be...say, the wing box?
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brindabella
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Re: Why did Airbus switch to winglets so late in the A320

Wed Feb 24, 2021 12:16 pm

:checkmark:
747classic wrote:
AFAIK the first issue was that Airbus didn't want to pay initially the full price for adding the Aviation Partners blended winglets to the A320
For that reason Airbus developed a slightly "modified" blended winglet to avoid patent issues.
In 2011, Airbus finally began to offer its own version of winglets, called Sharklets.
Aviation Partners sued Airbus, claiming that they used experiments with the original blended winglet design to come up with its model. In the end, Airbus lost the lawsuit and paid out an undisclosed sum to Aviation Partners.

The second reason, as noted earlier in the thread was that the A320 wing had not enough strength to counter the extra forces put at the wing structure by the winglets (sharklets), requiring far more modifications than the 737NG wing.


:checkmark:

IIRC, Aviation Partners was 50% owned by Boeing at the time.

cheers
Billy
 
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Re: Why did Airbus switch to winglets so late in the A320

Thu Feb 25, 2021 9:27 pm

AFAIK Aviation Partners is still a private company, offering winglets devices for non- Boeing aircraft.
Starting with the 737NG a separate joint venture was formed with Boeing, called "Aviaton Partners Boeing" for winglet application at Boeing aircraft.
Aviation Partners went on to offer its patented Blended Winglet Technology for the Hawker 800/800XP and Dassault’s popular Falcon 2000, 900 and 50 series aircraft.
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ELBOB
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Re: Why did Airbus switch to winglets so late in the A320

Sat Feb 27, 2021 2:26 pm

The things at the tips of A320-200 wings *are* winglets. They prevent tip-swirl when cruising and create vortices as wing lift coefficient increases. They were designed by BAe who from the start called them "winglets", way back in 1985 when they were being designed for the A300 / 310.

"Wing-tip fences" was Airbus terminology and never made sense, since a wing fence is an unsophisticated device that obstructs spanwise flow through its sheer presence.
 
WIederling
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Re: Why did Airbus switch to winglets so late in the A320

Sat Feb 27, 2021 6:28 pm

ELBOB wrote:
The things at the tips of A320-200 wings *are* winglets. They prevent tip-swirl when cruising and create vortices as wing lift coefficient increases. They were designed by BAe who from the start called them "winglets", way back in 1985 when they were being designed for the A300 / 310.

"Wing-tip fences" was Airbus terminology and never made sense, since a wing fence is an unsophisticated device that obstructs spanwise flow through its sheer presence.


That is an interesting story. .. and quite endearing. got some links perchance?
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GalaxyFlyer
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Re: Why did Airbus switch to winglets so late in the A320

Sat Feb 27, 2021 7:47 pm

Richard Whitcomb designed them and Learjet 28 “Longhorn” in 1977 was the first to fly. BAE was later

https://www.jstor.org/stable/44699039?seq=1

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