Are the wingtip modifications on Southwest Airlines jets for STOL?

I've searched using Google, but cannot find the answer to my question. I live near Love Field in Dallas and fly Southwest Airlines often. This airport is located not far from downtown and so I assume the runways are short compared to (say) DFW. I see these curved vertical wingtip modifications on the Southwest Airlines planes. I've been assuming that they for short takeoff and landing (STOL), but I cannot confirm. Can someone who knows (is in the field) confirm or deny? If they are for STOL, how does the wingtip modification reduce the stall speed of the jet? Or, does the modification work another way? If these modifications are not for STOL, then what are they for?

6 Answers

  • Favorite Answer

    They're called 'winglets'.

    From Boeing:


    Blended Winglets are wing tip extensions which provide several benefits to airplane operators. The Blended Winglets option increases the Next Generation 737's lead as the newest and most technologically advanced airplane in its class, and provides the same benefits to operators of 737 Classic models.


    Depending on the airplane, its cargo, the airline's routes and other factors, Blended Winglets can:

    * Lower operating costs by reducing block fuel burn 3.5 to 4.0 percent on missions greater than 1,000 nautical miles

    * Reduce engine maintenance costs

    * Increase range up to 130 nautical miles

    * Improve payload capability by up to 6,000 pounds (.5 to 3 metric tons)

    * Improve takeoff performance and obstacle clearance

    * Increase optimum cruise altitude capability

    * Reduce community noise by 0.5 to 2.1 EPNdB (Effective Perceived Noise Level in Decibels) on takeoff and slight improvement on approach

    * Lower emissions through lower cruise thrust"

  • Mike D
    Lv 4
    1 decade ago

    The winglets help reduce drag and make the plane more aerodynamic. The winglets actually are amazing and add the range to airplane in dramatic fashion. Also, just to let you know that Love Field is capable of large aircraft - in a pinch a 747 could land there if it wasn't flying heavy.

    The winglets are sort of a new thing on the Boeing 737's. When you consider how long the 737 have been in service - it was one of the last planes in the Boeing family to add winglets. The first 737 to have winglets were the 737-800's according to Boeing in 1998 (I thought they were in an earlier model - the winglets are now standard on all newly build 737's regardless of what class)

    Source(s): Knew some of the answer but checked the Boeing website.
  • 1 decade ago

    The winglets reduce drag and improve fuel economy by reducing the creation of wingtip vortices and increasing the effective aspect ratio of the wing. There are other ways to do this, but winglets tend to be a good choice on aircraft that are flying short flights because they improve climb performance. Since 737s often fly short flights, many of them are equipped with blended winglets these days.

  • 4 years ago


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  • 1 decade ago

    The wing tips reduce drag in cruise flight which saves on fuel.

  • 1 decade ago

    They are called winglets, and they reduce drag. Less drag = less fuel consumption.

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