Change is coming to UPS’ 54-strong fleet of 767-300ERFs – and you can see that change in this dramatic photo of N304UP (msn: 27242) lifting off from Seattle’s Boeing Field just as the sun is setting on its way to Louisville as UPS flight 981. The change is, of course, the massive Aviation Partners blended winglets, which at eleven feet tall are the largest winglets currently on any aircraft.
UPS has operated the 767-300ERF since October of 1995, and N304UP was one of the earliest to join the fleet – delivered in November of that year. Currently 304 and N334UP (msn: 32844) are the only ships in the fleet to wear the new winglets, but they will be coming to nearly the entire fleet by the end of 2013.
The winglets offer improvements in payload and, more importantly for an express carrier that is specializing in volume rather that weight, range and fuel savings. UPS’ 767 fleet is powered exclusively by the GE CF6-80-C2B6F, and Aviation Partners Boeing touts a 5.5% fuel savings on a 5,000 mile sector with this powerplant. The winglets can increase the aircraft’s range by up to 320nm, or add 16,000 lbs to the payload.
Winglets on the 767 are not installed at the factory but by licensed MROs such as Delta TechOps and Mexicana MRO services.
UPS has been taking 767 deliveries in quick succession over the last four years, taking 22 new aircraft since July of 2009. Five additional aircraft are still on order, which will bring the total fleet to 59. Rival FedEx ordered 46 767-300ERFs in 2011 and 2012. The 767-300F program has, in total, racked up 130 orders from nine customers since its first order (by UPS) in January 1993.
© Photographer: Alex Kwanten