Many moons ago, I was watching a YouTube video about the new Gulfstream winglets that a subcontractor was making for the company. The same firm is also making winglets for Airbus, Boeing, and about 60 aircraft types. I was totally amazed by the progress of this company since 1991 when it was founded. These latest winglets that they offer are completely molded, and you can’t tell where the wings stops and where the winglets starts, as it looks like it is all one piece – therefore it is.
Obviously that makes sense because the airflow coming off the winning creating wingtip vortices does not start or stop either, as it too is a continuous flow. Perhaps this is why I immediately thought that there ought to be fractal winglet wingtips. That is to say that there should be winglets on the tip of the winglet, and another one on the tip of that, and so on, and why not? Interestingly enough, as I read the comments down underneath the YouTube video, I noticed that someone else had made the same statement.
Indeed, I know aerospace engineers have to be thinking here, but I ask why haven’t such designs been created yet, or have they, is the military already using them, might work great on rotor blades for high speed helicopters, or how about hypersonic transitional craft? Some might say the reason is because there is the law of diminishing returns, and that may be true but that law diminishing returns is still a return in efficiency, therefore it is worth discussing.
Further, how hard is it to put a winglet on the tip of the winglet, with a winglet on its tip? As long as it’s only molded plastic or carbon composite, it’s really no problem at all to continue the mold. It’s not as if the manufacturing process of such materials is that difficult.
Meanwhile there are a lot of things that stick off an airplane. There are antennas, vertical stabilizers, horizontal stabilizers, and all sorts of other things, shouldn’t they all have many winglets to increase efficiency and reduce the coefficient of drag. All that parasite drag could be taken down a notch.
Maybe we should be thinking here, especially since at the Paris Air Show in 2011, it was all about fuel costs, and saving money. Gulfstream and Boeing both flew aircraft on BioFuel to the Paris air show, and companies similar to the one that makes this winglet were also there selling their wares, to an excited crowd of aircraft buyers who are big time into green aviation and efficiency to save fuel costs.
Yes, it’s good to build more new efficient aircraft, but let’s make some of the older aircraft we have efficient as well. And it’s not as if we can’t also improved even on the new efficient aircraft with molded fractal winglets, and lower weight materials. Why not make all the aircraft as green as possible. Indeed I hope you will please consider all this and think on it.