The real-world flight from Maine to Florida—specifically, from Portland International Jetport to Palm Beach International Airport—will compare the performance of a Cessna CitationJet equipped with Tamarack’s ATLAS Active Winglet system (N44VS) with that of an unmodified, “flat-wing” CitationJet (N741CC). The fly-off is scheduled to commence at 10 a.m. Eastern time on January 26, weather permitting.
AOPA plans to document the event, with multimedia journalists aboard each of the participating aircraft. In addition, the National Aeronautic Association will document the race for a potential speed record between the city pair for this aircraft class.
“This will be the first fly-off comparing an active winglet aircraft and a flat-wing aircraft operating under the same conditions,” said Tamarack CEO Nick Guida, adding that he is confident in the Tamarack-transformed jet’s ability to perform. “Active winglet mods on Citations can result in up to a 33-percent fuel savings, depending on weather conditions and other variables, so the active winglet competitor may make the [approximately] 1,292-mile trip without a stop.”
N44VS will be flown by owner and 30-year pilot Wick Zimmerman, CEO and co-founder of Outside the Lines. N741CC, the unmodified flat-wing aircraft, will be flown by aviation veteran Mike Laver, owner of Carolina Turbine Support. Laver and AOPA Pilot Technical Editor Mike Collins flew Laver’s personal Mitsubishi MU-2 around the world in 2013.
“The fly-off is very exciting. I’m going to do my best to win the race,” Laver said. “This kind of race has never been done before, and it will put to rest once and for all any question about the value of these active winglet installations. I’ll pay attention to how high and how fast the active winglet jet performs.”
“I am looking forward to the aviation community seeing how my active winglet-equipped aircraft performs against the flat-wing,” Zimmerman said, adding that he made several cross-country flights that required multiple expensive and time-consuming fuel stops before he invested in active winglets for his CitiationJet. “Active winglets also make a dramatic difference getting into and out of places that are high and hot,” he added. “For example, when we’re operating out of Salt Lake City, the takeoff and climb is a game-changer. With Tamarack winglets, we went straight up to 40,000 in just under 26 minutes. We were still climbing at 500-plus feet per minute when we leveled off.”
Tamarack’s ATLAS Active Winglets are comprised of a wing extension, a winglet, and an autonomous load alleviation system. The active winglet technology features instantaneous adjustment to turbulence, affording smoother and safer flights, quicker climbs, fewer stops, up to 33 percent reduced fuel use, and more stable approaches, the company said.
Laver decided to participate in the race before his business in Aiken, South Carolina, was named Tamarack’s new East Coast Transformation Center.
Real-time updates on the fly-off will be posted to both Tamarack’s and AOPA’s social media accounts.