Boeing and American Airlines partner in ecoDemonstrator programme to flight test cleaner and quieter technologies
The American Airlines ecoDemonstrator Boeing 737-800 (photo: Boeing)
Wed 13 July 2012 – American Airlines is to become the launch customer for Boeing’s evolutionary ecoDemonstrator programme. The airline is making available a 737-800 and, at a later date, a widebody aircraft to enable Boeing to flight test a range of emerging technologies that are aimed at reducing fuel, emissions and noise. The programme includes testing of technologies being developed by Boeing as part of the FAA’s Continuous Lower Energy Emissions Noise (CLEEN) project, as well as other applications the airplane manufacturer is working on with other industry partners. Together with the American Airlines engineering team, Boeing is currently finalising plans for the first onboard installations.
“Our ecoDemonstrator flight test programme allows us to accelerate promising technologies and move them onto airplane models and into new aircraft design considerations across the industry,” explains the programme’s manager, David Akiyama. “It also allows us to verify airplane applicability and identify and eliminate potential integration challenges.”
Specific technologies that the partners expect to be flown in 2012 include:
Adaptable trailing edge technology being developed under CLEEN that reduces noise and emissions during all phases of flight including take-off, cruise and landing;
Variable area fan nozzle, which reduces community noise and enables advanced engine efficiency technologies;
Flight trajectory optimisation for in-flight planning that enables airlines to determine and fly more fuel-efficient routes and provides flight crews the ability to reroute for weather and other constraints; and
Regenerative fuel cells for onboard power, which efficiently store and generate power, and adapt to aircraft electrical systems demand, potentially reducing weight, fuel burn and CO2 emissions.
The ecoDemonstrator programme was launched in 2010 with the aim of reducing entry-to-market risk for new technologies and follows Boeing’s 2005 Quiet Technology Demonstrator programme that helped both the 747-8 and 787 Dreamliner new aircraft models exceed international noise emissions standards.
“There’s no better way to prepare advanced technologies for market entry than flying them,” says Billy Glover, Boeing Vice President of Environment and Aviation Policy.
Boeing’s participation in the CLEEN programme is through a $25 million matching cost contract for environmental technology development.