As airlines struggle to turn a profit, their tendency is to cut corners in a way that saves them a few bucks per passenger by inconveniencing those passengers. Hence we have more cramped seats, meals-not-included flights and baggage checking fees. But here's a moneysaving design solution that has nothing to do with passenger comfort: Boeing's newly designed split-tip winglet for its forthcoming 737 MAX jet.
The raked "dual feather" winglet, which makes it look as if the tip of the wing has split and is peeling in separate directions, adds surface area without lengthening the wing; this increases lift, and the shape also reduces the air vortices and attendant drag that typically form at the wingtips. Boeing says the winglet design alone will improve fuel efficiency by 1.5 percent, which doesn't seem huge, but combined with other aerodynamic adjustments and engine improvements, it all adds up to a supposed 10 to 12 percent efficiency gain in the new MAX jet. And however small the improvement, we're all for designers and engineers mucking around with the plane's exterior before they start looking at ways to put our seats closer together.
via seattle times