A United AirlinesBoeing 737-800 aircraft retrofitted with the new Split Scimitar Winglet took its maiden test flight Tuesday in Everett, Wash. This advanced winglet improves on the existing blended winglets United currently has on its next generation 737 fleet.
In January, United served as the launch customer for this innovative winglet when it made a firm commitment with Aviation Partners Boeing to retrofit its 737-800 fleet. In June, United announced its commitment to also retrofit its 737-900ER fleet. Using a newly patented design, the program consists of retrofitting United's Boeing Next Generation 737 Blended Winglets by replacing the aluminum winglet tip cap with a new aerodynamically shaped "Scimitar” winglet tip cap and by adding a new Scimitar-tipped ventral strake.
United expects the new Split Scimitar winglet to result in approximately a two percent fuel savings for the 737. Once the Split Scimitar Winglets are installed, the combined winglet technology installed on United's 737, 757, and 767 fleet is expected to save the airline more than $200 million per year in fuel costs. United will begin retrofitting its 737-800 and 737-900ER fleet with the new winglet beginning early next year, once testing and FAA certification of the winglets are complete.