- Advocacy & Policy
- Research Center
National Aerospace Week attendees got a glimpse of aviation’s future when Boeing, along with partner American Airlines, welcomed its innovative ecoDemonstrator 737-800 aircraft to Washington National Airport. Visitors to a special exhibit area were told about technologies and advanced materials used on and in the aircraft that provide greater fuel efficiency and further noise reduction than current aircraft.
The ecoDemonstrator highlights potential efficiencies from all areas of the aircraft. Modifications include internal cabin improvements through the utilization of lighter-weight materials, new galley refrigeration technologies and the installation of recycled, recyclable modular carpet that will save operator time, cost and reduce waste. Active engine vibration controls and other improvements to the engines not only save fuel, but also reduce cabin and external noise. New high-tech devices in the cockpit have the potential to provide significant safety and efficiency improvements. These include up-to-date weather and other data streams delivered to an iPad-like device, allowing for more direct routing and a smoother, safer flight. New structural materials and designs such as adaptive trailing wing edges increase fuel efficiency. The regenerative hydrogen fuel cell on board essentially makes its own energy, bringing the aircraft one step closer towards zero emission power generation. Additionally, test flights of this aircraft are done using biofuels. All of the technologies tested by the aircraft have shown a two percent increase in fuel efficiency savings.
American Airlines has allowed this aircraft to serve as a test bed for these advanced technologies. After testing on the ecoDemonstrator is complete, the airplane will be returned to standard configuration and delivered to the airline later this year. Boeing’s plan is to demonstrate similar technologies on one new aircraft type every year.
The FAA participated in the 2012 program and will again offer assistance for the 2013 program, providing supportive funding for two of the technologies incorporated on the aircraft, and also some flight test cost. This funding is provided through the FAA’s Continuous Lower Energy Emissions and Noise program (CLEEN). In addition to Boeing, FAA and American Airlines, General Electric, Honeywell, Pratt & Whitney and Rolls-Royce-North America also assisted in the program.
AIA Source: leslie.riegle[at]aia-aerospace.org