American Airlines is first to test Boeing’s ecoDemonstrator

Boeing and American Airlines have teamed up to demonstrate technology for reducing aviation fuel consumption, carbon emissions and noise.

The airline will be Boeing’s launch customer for the ecoDemonstrator Program, which will see a Boeing Next-Generation 737-800 aircraft used to flight test the market readiness of emerging technologies.

‘Our ecoDemonstrator flight-test programme allows us to accelerate promising technologies and move them onto aircraft models and into new aircraft design considerations across the industry,’ said Boeing programme manager David Akiyama.

‘It also allows us to verify aircraft applicability, and to identify and eliminate potential integration challenges.’

American Airlines’ vice-president of flight Captain John Hale said: ‘Our partnership with Boeing allows us to make significant strides in putting more fuel-efficient planes in the air, which is the most effective way to reduce our carbon footprint.’

The project will serve as the flight-test component for the US Federal Aviation Administration’s Continuous Lower Energy Emissions Noise (CLEEN) programme, and will also involve a second aircraft to be announced at a later date.

The two companies are finalising plans for installing the initial technology aboard the 737-800 aircraft, which will include:

  • adaptable trailing-edge technology — a technology being developed under the CLEEN programme, which reduces noise and emissions during all phases of flight, including take-off, cruise and landing;
  • variable-area fan nozzle — which reduces noise pollution and enables advanced engine efficiency technologies;
  • flight trajectory optimisation for in-flight planning — which enables airlines to determine and fly more fuel-efficient routes, and allow flight crews to reroute for weather and other constraints; and
  • regenerative fuel cells for onboard power — which can efficiently store and generate power, and adapt to aircraft electrical systems demand; potentially reducing weight, fuel burn and CO2 emissions.

The two ecoDemonstrators will build upon the success of the 2005 Quiet Technology Demonstrator (QTD2) programme, which helped both the Boeing 747-8 and 787 Dreamliner exceed international standards for noise emissions.

Boeing is participating in the CLEEN programme through a $25m matching cost contract for environmental technology development.