Saturday, March 21, 2015

Winging it

We’ve just kicked off a new round of ecoDemonstrator program testing with three significant environmental technologies on board our ecoDemonstrator 757. The airplane made two initial test flights earlier this week from Boeing Field in Seattle, looking at ways to improve efficiency and to reduce noise and carbon emissions.

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The ecoDemonstrator 757 during its initial test flight on March 17.

For this round of testing, we’re collaborating with TUI Group and NASA. And you could say we’re “winging it” this time.

On the left wing, we’ll be evaluating technologies to reduce environmental effects on natural laminar flow - smooth airflow over the wing - as a way to improve aerodynamic efficiency. As an example, the ecoDemonstrator 757 will test a Krueger shield that can protect the leading edge from insects.

And on the right wing, Boeing and NASA will test bug-phobic coatings to reduce the residue left by bug strikes on the leading edges of aircraft wings, also to reduce drag.

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The ecoDemonstrator 757 (left) and ecoDemonstrator 787 are pictured together at Boeing Field. The ecoDemonstrator 787 wrapped up its testing a few months ago.

On the vertical tail, Boeing and NASA are testing active flow control to improve airflow over the rudder and maximize its aerodynamic efficiency. Based on wind-tunnel testing, active flow control could improve the rudder’s efficiency by up to 20 percent and may allow for a smaller vertical tail design in the future.

Except for Boeing’s proprietary technology, NASA knowledge gained in ecoDemonstrator collaboration will be publicly available to benefit the industry.

And just to prove how serious we are about our environmental commitment, we’ll recycle this 757 at the end of its flight tests using environmental best practices. That’s what I call going green—from start to finish!

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