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Airbus Military Begins Flight Tests Of C295 Fitted With Winglets

Hopes For Improvements In Takeoff, Climb, And Cruise Performance As Well As Fuel Efficiency

Airbus Military has begun flight-testing a modification to add winglets to the C295 medium transport and surveillance aircraft – one of a series of product developments underway on the market-leading type. The winglets, which are short extensions to the wingtips of the aircraft, have the potential to improve performance in the take-off, climb and cruise phases of flight by increasing the lift-drag ratio.

Possible in-service benefits include improved hot and high runway performance, increased range and endurance, and reduced operating costs, according to Airbus.

First flight of the wingletted aircraft took place at Airbus Military’s Seville facility in Spain on December 21. Data from that flight is being analyzed and will be added to data from future flights, providing the basis for a decision on whether or not to incorporate winglets into the C295 design. The photograph shows the C295 during its first flight with winglets.

Airbus says the C295 is  able to carry up to nine metric tons of payload or up to 71 personnel, at a maximum cruise speed of 260 kt. Fitted with a retractable landing gear and a pressurised cabin, it can cruise at altitudes up to 25,000 ft, while retaining STOL performance from unprepared short, soft and rough airstrips, as well as low level flight characteristics. Powered by two Pratt & Whitney Canada PW127G turboprop engines, Airbus says the C295 offers "outstanding hot and high performance, low fuel consumption and consequently a very long endurance of up to eleven hours in the air." The first C295 was delivered in 2001.

FMI: www.airbus.com

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