In this Flying with the Founder, our CEO Nick Guida answered some of the most commonly asked questions our Sales Team receives from our clients.
1. We hear all the time, “Tamarack takes you further”, but what does that really mean?
Well, of course we could say “Tamarack takes you farther”, because it would be accurate. A CJ that used to fly 900 miles before Active Winglets would now be able to fly 1,300 miles, so in the literal sense, yes, Tamarack Active Winglets take you farther. However, it is so much more than that, and that’s why we use the word further, as it describes the overall experience. The benefits of Active Winglets go far beyond just physical distance. For some of our customers, going further could mean getting to their destination without a fuel stop, or perhaps the ability to add an additional passenger on their flight. It comes down to what would elevate each customer’s experience.
2. What is the return on investment on this modification?
This is the question I get asked most often. “Give me the numbers”, they’ll say. And essentially what people are asking us is, when will these pay off? It comes down to each customer and their needs. I have customers that fly long legs, and for them the return is being able to cut out a fuel stop and get to their destinations more quickly. I also have some customers that install Active Winglets just for looks! But eventually, they notice that they’re cutting time off the flight, there’s less fuel burn, and overall a better performance, so there’s an operational return in addition to the value and perception the Active Winglets add. As an example, I have a customer that flies from Raleigh, North Carolina to Centennial, CO daily that delivers organs in a CJ1, and he was able to win the contract against larger planes because he is able to fly nonstop, so for him the return was instantaneous. Another example would be a customer that needs to purchase a CJ2 based solely on range, not passengers, and a CJ1 can’t quite cut it. But with the Active Winglet upgrade, his CJ1 now flies more like a CJ2, and for him the return was also instantaneous. So to really give an answer to this question, we’d look at each customer’s individual goals and what their return would look like. It’s more than dollars and cents, it’s safety, reducing fuel costs, optimizing flight, and so much more.
3. How long does the transformation take?
Time is money, and most of our customers don’t want to be without their plane for extended periods of time. Our transformation takes 10 days maximum, including travel, installation and paint. It’s a non-invasive process, and within two days the airplane will already have Active Winglets installed- much of the process is actually the personalized paint scheme! We don’t do any other maintenance at our Transformation Centers, and our teams in Sandpoint, Idaho, Aiken, South Carolina, and Oxford, UK have streamlined the process already for over 150 aircraft.
4. Will the plane fit in my hangar?
The Active Winglets and the wing extension add five feet on each wing. Most of our customers have room for their newly transformed planes in their hangar, but those that don’t tend to modify their hangars to accommodate the increase in wingspan. The feedback we’ve received is that our customers are so satisfied with the improved performance, any changes to their hangar is a secondary concern.
5. Will my plane go faster?
Speed really depends on your specific airplane and your mission. I’ve had some customers report that they were flying 2 knots faster, but realistically it’s difficult to tell that small of a difference in a 400 knot airplane. There are so many other factors that can affect speed, such as temperature, weight, etc. Most people don’t know what their CJ does at 41,000 feet because they can only do it at the end of the flight after a few hours of burning fuel, so they’re lighter and faster. But with Active Winglets, one of the benefits is that you get up to speed and increase altitude much more quickly, so speed is relative.
6. What is the installation process like?
Overall, it’s a very timely process. When we bring a plane in, each wing has a mechanic working on it. They remove the existing wingtip, clean it up, and install the extension. Meanwhile, another mechanic runs wiring to the fuse box and connects everything to the circuit panel, where we add new ATLAS markings. Within two days, the Active Winglets are installed, then we perform rigging checks. The part that takes longest is actually the paint! We work with our customers to create a personalized paint scheme, and then of course the most exciting part, waiting for it to dry. Once painted, our techs run cabling and begin inspections. It’s a very honed process as it isn’t invasive. What I’m most proud of, however, is our customer service. It’s our goal from the very beginning to make the experience as seamless as possible and to help our customers understand the technology. The moment the plane arrives, we take photos to ensure it leaves the hangar exactly the way it arrived and communicate with our customers at every step in the process. We also help arrange any details such as transportation, lodging, etc. Once the transformation is complete, we do a full delivery and explain all the changes that have been made. We help with fuel planning, how to use tools such as flightplan.com, and how to fly the plane most efficiently with Active Winglets.
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