Boeing starts ecoDemonstrator 787 flight testing of new efficiency performance technologies
Boeing ecoDemonstrator 787 takes off from Boeing Field in Seattle
Mon 24 Nov 2014 – Boeing’s latest ecoDemonstrator programme has begun flight testing more than 25 new technologies aimed at improving the environmental performance of aircraft through every phase of flight. The new round of testing is using a 787 Dreamliner to evaluate software and connectivity technologies related to operational efficiency, remote sensors to reduce wiring and weight, aerodynamic and flight control improvements for greater fuel efficiency, and icephobic wing coatings to reduce ice accumulation. In July, the ecoDemonstrator 787 completed flight tests of an acoustic ceramic matrix composite nozzle designed by Boeing to reduce weight and noise.
Included in the latest testing is the NASA Airborne Spacing for Terminal Arrival Routes (ASTAR) system to improve landing efficiency and evaluation of new greenhouse gas sensors, in collaboration with Japan Airlines and others. Tests are also being carried out on instrument landing systems for new and older aircraft to optimise landings and reduce fuel use. In cooperation with Delta Air Lines, real-time turbulence reports are being generated to help mitigate moderate or greater turbulence events that can result in improved flight efficiency and passenger comfort.
The tests are part of the FAA’s Continuous Lower Energy, Emissions and Noise (CLEEN) programme, a competitively-bid, five-year initiative with costs shared by participants. Supplier partners for the 787 technologies and flight tests also include Rolls-Royce, Honeywell, Rockwell Collins, General Electric and Panasonic.
Previous ecoDemonstrator programmes have featured testing on an American Airlines Next-Generation 737 in 2011 of 15 technologies including aspects of the Advanced Technology Winglet that will result in fuel efficiency improvement of up to 1.8% on the new 737 MAX. Next year will see testing of more technologies on a 757 in collaboration with TUI Travel Group and NASA.
“The ecoDemonstrator is focused on technologies that can improve airlines’ gate-to-gate efficiency and reduce fuel consumption, emissions and noise,” said Boeing Commercial Airplanes CEO Ray Conner. “Through the ecoDemonstrator programme, Boeing continues to invest in innovation that benefits the environment and our customers.”