The January 26th Active Winglet Fly-Off was officially a success! After months of coordination, many long hours, and some unpredictable factors on the day of the event, this event ultimately demonstrated the significant fuel savings for which Tamarack is known. Not only did the Active Winglet transformed aircraft (N44VS) make the East Coast trip without a stop, but it also used 155 gallons less fuel than the flat-wing aircraft! The historic flight pitted an unmodified CitationJet “flat-wing” (N741CC) against an Active Winglet transformed Citation down the east coast of the US. The day started off with a twist, thanks to a weather front hugging the coast of Georgia and South Carolina.
CitationJet operators can attest that a fuel stop during a trip down the east coast is a forgone conclusion with an unmodified aircraft. Each pilot was allowed to flight plan at their own discretion according to safety protocol. The routes were meant to be matched leaving Portland, Maine (PWM) for West Palm Beach, Florida (PBI) - but safe planning didn’t allow the flat-wing to climb above the weather with comfort and make the first fuel destination planned. An alternate, Columbia, SC, was chosen as the fuel stop due to inhospitable weather in the more Easterly areas. The Active Winglet transformed aircraft planned for a direct flight to PBI.
The flat-wing aircraft was given a two-minute head start departing MAC Air Group at PWM at 1:40 PM ET. With an AOPA journalist and two pilots on board each aircraft, they were up and away!
Twelve minutes after takeoff, the Active Winglet transformed CJ overtook the flat-wing’s climb at 26,500 ft. Both aircraft reported ISA +13C between FL350 and FL400, which ultimately resulted in the flat-wing CJ’s level off at FL360 within 27 minutes, with 430 lbs. of fuel burned. It accelerated to cruise speed at FL360, ISA+9, and accelerated to ground speed (GS) of 260 in 26 minutes burning 730 PPH. The team on the ground inquired with the PIC for the flat-wing aircraft to resume their climb when able - but the pilot made the choice to stay at FL360, saying, “we’d be slowing down 20kts at FL410 vs FL360. We are at the older CJ’s sweet spot now.”
The Active Winglet transformed aircraft climbed direct to FL410 in 48 minutes with 620 lbs. of fuel burned. It accelerated to cruise speed at FL410, ISA +9, accelerating to GS 260 within ten minutes after level off while burning 580 PPH. Two hours into the flight, ground crew received an inflight message from pilot Wick Zimmerman, noting that winds were double to what had been expected with a headwind of 54 kts (instead of the 27 kts that were forecasted). At 2 hours and 16 minutes, the headwind increased to 59 kts on the nose with ISA +8C.
N741CC landed to refuel in Columbia with 800 lbs. of fuel remaining and updated the ground team at 6:40 PM ET after their departure. Time to climb from takeoff roll to FL360 was 33 minutes, fuel burned 716 lbs. on climb, GS 264. Cruise numbers: FL360, Mach .61, TAS 349, GS 382, IAS 200, fuel flow 740 PPH (360L/380R).
In the final stretch, both aircraft benefited from a major headwind to tailwind shift, giving them both a well-deserved break. The Active Winglet transformed aircraft was still happily sipping fuel at 540 PPH at 1,078 miles into the trip, showing confident numbers to successfully complete the trip to KPBI.
At 6:18 PM ET, the Active Winglet transformed aircraft landed at KPBI and our ground crew was on the ramp, ready to congratulate the crew on this accomplishment! They had planned to land with about 1,100 lbs. of fuel remaining at PBI, but the weather had other intentions; N44VS landed at PBI with just over IFR reserves after fighting the strong headwinds for much of the four-hour 36-minute flight, and using a total of 2,610 lbs. of fuel.
The flat-wing CJ touched down at KPBI 7:18 PM ET, one hour later, with 1,000 lbs. fuel reserve. It travelled a total of 1,496 miles over the two legs, for a total trip time of five hours and 37 minutes while using 3,650 lbs. of fuel.
The Active Winglet aircraft’s time savings without a necessary fuel stop was significant – a solid hour faster for the non-stop Active Winglet flight!
What an incredibly exciting day! The fly-off showed the quality and consistent abilities of the CitationJet and highlighted the extraordinary benefits Active Winglets apply to the aircraft. If there’s something all pilots know, it is that weather is inevitable. Having the additional range and greater fuel reserves with Active Winglets not only saves time and money, but offers the added benefit of peace of mind.
Tamarack would like to thank all of the other organizations that supported this effort including MAC Air Group at PWN, Columbia Aviation at CUB for the quick turn, and Atlantic Aviation for hosting our reception team at PBI. Our experience with ATC was terrific, providing unrestricted climbs for both aircraft; and supporting our work with NAA to record the non-stop record flight! We would also offer a special thanks to Mike Collins and Dave Tulis from AOPA for joining us on this adventure. We look forward to their independent coverage of the event!
This fly-off was subject to strong weather, but the Active Winglets were ultimately the key to this record flight while demonstrating versatility, time savings, and sustainability. They had an incredible and exciting performance; even with surprise headwinds, the Active Winglet transformed aircraft made a non-stop east coast run possible.
It may seem amazing that the Active Winglet plane made this 1,386 mile trip non-stop; but for those familiar with this modification, it was no surprise. In fact, just the day before the fly-off, N44VS flew 1,622 miles from Eloy, AZ to Wauseon, OH in ISA+14 conditions at maximum thrust in three hours and 52 minutes! The trip used 2,576 lbs. of fuel!
We can easily use FlightAware to track the real-time fuel savings of Active Winglet transformed CitationJets in regular conditions - for instance N44VS the day before the race, or N86LA being used in 135 operations, or N242ML also in charter. These next-generation performance results are simply an everyday reality for Active Winglet owners and pilots.
Tamarack Active Winglets are more than just a stunning upgrade for your CitationJet—a refined look meets a faster climb, smoother ride, and longer range. Discover how Tamarack Active Winglets will Transform the potential of your CitationJet. Tamarack Takes you Further.