An airplane’s wings generate lift by causing a difference in air pressure above and below the wing surface. An unfortunate consequence of this is known as “wing tip vortices”. This “dirty” air results in a drop in efficiency and a corresponding fuel burn penalty.
For years, manufacturers have put small winglets at the ends to cut down on these vortices. Usually, they’re very small but in the past few years they’ve evolved into tall “blended winglets”. Boeing now has them on certain 737 models and airlines like American have retrofitted them to some of their planes (757).
Now, Airbus is installing them on A320s and is test flying them. Here’s a great shot
It’s rare that something that serves a useful purpose also looks so darn sexy.
Thanks to Flightblogger for publishing these official Airbus pictures.