Tamarack Air Group’s president Nick Guida released some details at AOPA Summit yesterday on the company’s secret ATLAS project – aftermarket winglets for the Cirrus SR22. But these are winglets with an interesting new angle.
ATLAS stands for Active Technology Load Alleviation System, and it addresses the primary obstacle in adding winglets. Though fixed winglets add efficiency and performance by better distributing lift over the full wingspan, adding lift near the tip also shifts the center of pressure outward. Since this shift could overstress the wing in high-g situations, installing winglets on an existing wing usually involves beefing up the wing structure to accept the added load. That adds a weight penalty that at least partially offsets the aerodynamic efficiency.
But instead of beefing up the wings of the Cirrus, Tamarack has added trailing edge devices called Tamarack Active Control Surfaces (TACS) just inboard of the winglets. Transparent to the pilot, the TACS are controlled by sensors that detect increased wing loading and then deflect the TACS to aerodynamically deactivate the winglet, Guida explained. At full deflection, the TACS are capable of movement as much as 20 degrees down and 30 degrees up. Deflection occurs in less than 80 milliseconds.
Though the company did not release specifics on performance gains, some of the benefits, according to Guida, include slower stall speed, shorter landing distances (Guida claims he landed Tamarack’s Cirrus in 900 feet), better climb performance and improved handling in turbulence.
Should the electronics fail, the TACS “blow” to the neutral in-trail position and the pilot receives an annunciation to slow to Va, 119 knots indicated. ATLAS involves a net increase of only 22 pounds to the aircraft empty weight, according to Tamarack. The cost for the system is $59,000 and installation is expected to involve about 80 shop hours. Supplemental Type Certificate approval is expected in the first quarter of next year. Guida further explained that the Cirrus is just a first step for the ATLAS system.
“The real money is in big jets, something that flies high at high coefficients of lift,” he said.