Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Cargo Carriers Can Expect Cleaner Freighter Aircraft

Boeing and Partners Forge Ahead with Fuel and Pollution Reducing Programme
Shipping News Feature

US - WORLDWIDE – With fuel now the leading operating expenditure for air cargo carriers’ worldwide and increasingly stringent environmental regulations, improving fuel efficiency and reducing carbon and noise emissions is a top priority for the air freight industry. That’s why Boeing and American Airlines this week showcased a Next-Generation 737-800 airplane known as ecoDemonstrator in Washington DC, to highlight testing of environmentally progressive technologies.

Officials from Boeing, American Airlines, and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) held a joint news conference at Reagan National Airport to highlight innovation and collaboration among government and industry. The visit to the nation's capital follows extensive flight testing in Glasgow, Montana, where the plane flew a series of missions designed to test and accelerate advanced technologies that increase fuel efficiency and reduce airplane noise.

American Airlines has loaned a new Next-Generation 737-800 to Boeing to serve as the testbed for these advanced technologies. The flight testing, completed in Glasgow, allowed Boeing engineers to gather volumes of data about the viability of each technology. After testing is complete, the airplane will be returned to standard configuration and delivered back to American Airlines later this year.

The FAA programme known as CLEEN (Continuous Lower Energy, Emissions, and Noise) provided funding for the adaptive trailing edge on the airplane as well as some flight test costs. Other technologies on the 2012 ecoDemonstrator airplane include variable area fan nozzles, active engine vibration reduction, a regenerative fuel cell, and testing of flight trajectory optimization to enable more efficient routing for fuel savings. John Tracy, Boeing chief technology officer said:

"The ecoDemonstrator illustrates how we're pursuing technologies and advanced materials that make airplanes operate more efficiently and produce fewer emissions and less noise. I am proud of the leadership role that Boeing is playing in advancing the science of aerospace and demonstrating the value of these technologies to our airline customers, the flying public, and to society at large.

"Boeing is fully committed to helping airlines operate more efficiently, with reduced environmental impact. We are committed because it is the right thing to do, and because meeting the environmental challenges we face will enable our industry to grow and broaden the benefits that aviation provides to global economic growth."

The 2012 ecoDemonstrator is the first of several test platforms with Boeing planning to have one per year, with each airplane testing a new set of technologies and in 2013 a wide bodied airplane will serve as the testbed. The CLEEN programme is also participating in the 2013 programme, providing cost-share funding for a ceramic matrix composite engine nozzle and its related flight test costs.

A video of the ecoDemonstrator in action can be seen HERE.