Re: 747-400 without a winglet !

From:         "Nicolas E. Murat" <vis@elaine14.Stanford.EDU>
Organization: Stanford University
Date:         13 Oct 95 01:30:23 
References:   1
Followups:    1
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On 4 Oct 1995, Richard A. Muirden wrote:

> There is the most interesting picture in Australian Aviation this month
> of a UA 744 without a winglet on it's port side !
>
> Karl would prob. know - what would be the affect on the aircraft of
> missing one winglet? I believe I read somewhere that the winglets on
> the 744 gave a 3% savings on fuel burn. but would it upset the aircraft
> balance or something only having one? and how could it come off? is
> it lying in the pacific somewhere, or dropped off over someone's farm?

The 6 foot winglets are added at the end of the assembly process are
indeed designed to reduce the vortex at the wing tips in order to save fuel.

Some of the Japanese Airlines who operate the 747-400 for their
short-haul domestic market have opted not to use them for those high
frequency flights.  So 744's do exist without them.

Now, UAL A/C with only one winglet does sound unlikely. If they did lose
it somewhere, the balance would have only been affected temporarily,
until adjustments were made. Earlier 747s lost whole engines and
mananged. So a winglet can't be that bad. Several manufacturers have had
problems with losing components such as Landing Gear Doors, Service
Panels and Exterior Escape Slides in flight...