Design Group - Winglets

Brian Martinez

Originally published July 1997

Here is another question that came to mind the other day. What would Winglets do to a Quickie 200??? Besides the fact that it would look pretty cool, would it add or subtract from the performance??? Has anyone done this to any Quickies out there??? Thanks for your time.

Rob Holland & Craig Ewing


Winglets would probably cause you a lot of problems. The aerodynamic reason for the addition of winglets is to effectively increase the span of the wing without a length wise increase in the span. What I am telling you is that everything you get by installing winglets (except a little more directional stability) can be done by increasing the span. So let's see; you put on your winglets and you get more lift on the back wing than is necessary and then you don't have enough elevator authority off the front wing and so you have a problem. You also get more surface area and a resultant increase in drag; and then you get some possible stability effects that you don't understand and you go round and round because it all was going to look so cool. And then, maybe you over stress the wing and fail it because it was not originally set up for the loading that it might just see with the new stylish change that it probably would have worked just great without.

Aside from the component problems (e.g., brakes, tailwheels, access panels, etc.), build the plane per plan!!!! If you want to never finish the aircraft, have an accident, or go in any number of do-loops just go off and change something. Quickie Aircraft and Burt Rutan spent a lot of time and flight test hours perfecting these types of configurations (i.e., Quickie/Q-2/Q-200/Amsoil Racer) and they work well...on design. These are point design aircraft. They are high efficiency designs and are safe when kept on design. They are not automobiles where you can stick whatever styling you want (because it looks cool). Aircraft depend on Aerodynamics for safe flight. In the flight test business......If you want to play you had better be prepared to pay!!! And nature always sides with the hidden flaw. Think about it...then build per plan.

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Revised -- 22 December 1997