Boeing’s 2021 ecoDemonstrator flight test program to start this month


Boeing is to flight test 20 technologies on its annual ecoDemonstrator aircraft, starting with the first flight later this month.

The test program, which this year is partnering with Alaska Airlines, will use a new 737-9 for six months. The aircraft will then be fitted out and enter commercial service next year.

This is the eleventh year Boeing has run the ecoDemonstrator program, which has used eight different aircraft and run 195 projects. Examples of past projects now in use incude the winglets used on Boeing’s 737 Max aircraft and a camera system on the new 777X that helps pilots avoid obstacles on the ground.

The 20 technologies to be tested on the 737-9 this year all aim to cut emissions, reduce noise and recycle carbon composites.

Boeing and Alaska are partnering with nine other organisations on this year’s ecoDemonstrator. These partners include Meggitt, with a program to certify halon-free fire extinguishers and an air sampling project to measure greenhouse-gas levels in the atmosphere with the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Engineers will also evaluate acoustic lining concepts within the engine nacelle that may reduce noise on current engines and will inform designs for next-generation models.

Recycling carbon composite material from Boeing 777X wing production into a cabin sidewall panel. This durable, light material would reduce fuel use and carbon emissions, and supports Boeing’s goals for sustainable manufacturing.

The ecoDemonstrator test flights will be flown on a blend of petroleum-based and sustainable aviation fuel derived from agricultural waste.

Stan Deal, Boeing Commercial Airplanes president and CEO said, “Boeing is committed to continually improve air safety and the environmental performance of our products.”

“We’re proud to collaborate with our hometown customer and other partners around the world this year to make flying more sustainable.”

Diana Birkett Rakow, Alaska Airlines’ vice president for public affairs and sustainability said,  “This work with Boeing to accelerate innovation on the ecoDemonstrator program enables us to contribute to a more sustainable future for our global community.”

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About Author


Ben has worked as a journalist and editor, covering technology, engineering and industry for the last 20 years. Initially writing about subjects from nuclear submarines to autonomous cars to future design and manufacturing technologies, he was editor of a leading UK-based engineering magazine before becoming editor of Aerospace Testing in 2017.

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