Ask an Explainer


How do sharklets on the wingtips reduce drag?



Sharklets are winglets specifically designed for the Airbus A320 family that work to reduce vortex drag. Vortex drag is cuased by high pressure air on the underside of the wing flowing out, away from the body of the aircraft, towards the tips of the wings. At the wing tips that high pressure air sometimes flows over the top of the wing where the low pressure air is. The air then swirls around the wing tip creating vortex drag. Winglets or sharklets create an extra surface that redirects the air, reducing the vortex drag.

Categories: Aerodynamics