Sharklet-fitted Airbus A320 successfully completes first flight-test; targeting 3.5% reduction in fuel burn
Airbus has completed the first flight of the Sharklet wing-tip devices on the company’s A320 development aircraft (MSN 001). Sharklets will replace the aircraft’s current wingtip fence. Offered as an option on new-build aircraft, Sharklets have been specially designed for the Airbus A320 Family to reduce fuel burn by up to an additional 3.5%, corresponding to an annual CO2 reduction of around 700 tonnes per aircraft.
Unveiled in 2009, the large Sharklets (so-named because of their resemblance to a shark’s first dorsal fin) wing-tip devices provide aerodynamic improvements that result lower fuel burn, reduced emissions, increased range and payload, better take-off performance and rate-of-climb, higher optimum altitude, reduced engine maintenance costs and higher residual aircraft value.
The Sharklets measure 2.4 meters in height, with their 200-kg. installed total weight offset by weight savings being introduced throughout the A320 Family airframe.
The first flight marks the start of the early flight-test campaign to capture data for fine-tuning the flight laws, as well as for certification and performance validation.
A standard fit on the A320neo Family, which on its first anniversary after launch has attracted almost 1,500 orders and commitments from 26 customers, the Sharklets will contribute together with the new engines to 15% in fuel savings.
Airbus forecasts the world’s single-aisle airliner fleet to double to more than 23,000 aircraft by 2030, with an average annual fleet growth of 3.4%. This expansion will require around 19,200 new single-aisle aircraft deliveries for replacement and growth.