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Assessment of Wingtip Modifications to Increase the Fuel Efficiency of Air Force Aircraft
As required by Task 3, the committee considered the impact of wingtip modifications on maintenance (depot and field) and flight operations (including hangars, runways, taxiways, and mission requirements), basing its analysis on experience with comparable commercial aircraft.
For those Air Force aircraft that the committee judged were the most promising candidates for wingtip modifications, the committee suggests investment strategies, as called for by Task 4.
STRUCTURE OF THIS REPORT
Chapter 2 discusses how wingtip modifications work, including how they affect aerodynamic performance. It identifies the various benefits and potential negative impacts of wingtip modifications. Chapter 3 summarizes the commercial and military experience with wingtip modifications, as well as lessons drawn from past studies and experience. In Chapter 4, the committee identifies the Air Force aircraft it found to be the best candidates for wingtip modifications. This is followed by a qualitative analysis of the relative costs and benefits of retrofitting wingtip modifications on these aircraft, as well as a discussion of appropriate strategies the Air Force should use to maximize its fuel economy investments. Additional methods that might be considered by the Air Force to improve fuel economy, such as other aerodynamic changes, improving maintenance and operations, and reducing unnecessary weight, are discussed in Appendix B.