An Etihad Airways Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner decked out
with special equipment that can enhance safety and reduce CO2
emissions and noise commenced flight testing this week for
Boeing’s ecoDemonstrator programme.
A series of flights
will gather detailed information about aircraft
acoustics from some 1,200 microphones attached to the outside of
the 787 and positioned on the ground.
The collaboration between
NASA and Boeing aims to improve the agency’s aircraft noise
prediction capabilities, advance ways for pilots to reduce noise
and inform future quiet aircraft designs.
“At NASA, we’ve
been researching the individual airplane noise sources, their
interactions with the airframe and how they combine to the total
aircraft noise,” NASA technical lead Dr. Russell Thomas said.
“This unique, carefully designed flight test provides the
environment where all these effects are measured, which will be
key to advancing our ability to design lower-noise aircraft.”
complaints about aircraft noise stem from flights approaching
airports, according to industry figures. About one-quarter of the
noise is created by the landing gear. Another project will test
landing gear modified to be quieter by Safran Landing Systems.
“Our collaboration with NASA and Safran is key to accelerating
innovation and furthering the ecoDemonstrator’s mission to improve
the sustainability of air travel,” ecoDemonstrator Program Chief
Engineer Rae Lutters said. “We’re eager to see a year’s worth of
planning come to life when we begin testing.”
are being conducted during which pilots, air traffic controllers
and an airline’s operations centre simultaneously share digital
information and use a NASA system called tailored arrival
management. These tools enhance safety by reducing workload and
radio frequency congestion, optimise routing efficiency to lower
fuel use, emissions and noise, and support the FAA’s Next
Generation Air Transportation System.
Mohammad Al Bulooki, Etihad Aviation Group Chief Operating
Officer, said, “By
choosing to take part in this programme we are proud to work with
the likes of Boeing, NASA and Safran to test cutting-edge
technologies and explore “blue sky” opportunities to improve
airspace efficiency, reduce fuel use, lower noise for the
community and cut CO2 emissions. Sustainability remains a
priority for Etihad in spite of the current COVID19 crisis and
this is just one initiative we’ve taken since the start of the
pandemic to continue our drive for sustainable aviation. As far as
Etihad is concerned, environmental sustainability shouldn’t be an
option or fair-weather project to be shelved when it’s not
convenient against other challenges.”
As part of Boeing’s
Confident Travel Initiative to address the ongoing global COVID19
pandemic, a handheld
ultraviolet light wand will be tested to determine its
effectiveness in disinfecting flight decks and cabins.
scheduled test flights are being flown on a blend of up to 50%
sustainable fuel, which includes the largest volumes of 50% blend
biofuel commercially produced.
Flight testing at Boeing’s facility
in Glasgow, Mont., is expected to last about 10 days before the
aircraft is delivered to Etihad in late September.
This is the first time the ecoDemonstrator
programme is using a Boeing 787-10 since flight testing began in