At the end of April 2023, the Boeing company announced its plan of accelerating technology development for sustainability, including the test flight programme of ´Explorer´ aircraft for 2023.
The first ecoDemonstrator Explorer, a 787-10 Dreamliner, will conduct flight tests in June, on routes from Seattle to Tokyo, Singapore and Bangkok. The goal is to demonstrate how coordinating navigation across global airspace jurisdictions can improve operational efficiency and, at the same time, can reduce fuel consumption and emissions of airliners by up to 10%.
Utilizing today’s onboard capabilities, Boeing and air navigation service providers (ANSPs) in the United States, Japan, Singapore and Thailand will collectively sequence the routes of the test aircraft to achieve optimal flight path across multiple regions, factoring in conditions such as weather, air traffic and airspace closures. The aeroplane will fly on the highest available blend of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) at each location.
´To support our industry’s goal for net zero carbon emissions by 2050, Boeing is expanding our ecoDemonstrator program with Explorer airplanes to test even more sustainability-focused technologies,´ said Stan Deal, president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes. ´We continue to invest in innovation that reduces fuel use, emissions and noise on our products and to partner with governments and industry to make progress on sustainability during each phase of flight.´
´The industry will need continued fleet renewal, efficiency gains, renewable energy carriers such as sustainable aviation fuel and advanced technology to meet the civil aviation industry’s commitment to achieve net zero carbon emission by 2050,´ said Boeing Chief Sustainability Officer Chris Raymond. ´Our initial Explorer testing in partnership with aviation stakeholders in four countries is a great example of how we can work together to optimize operational efficiency and reduce emissions.´
Throughout the year 2023, the Boeing company will also use its current flagship ecoDemonstrator – a 777-200ER (Extended Range) airliner – to test nineteen new technologies, including:
- sustainable wall panels in the cargo hold that are made of 40% recycled carbon fibre and 60% resin made from a bio-based feedstock
- a fibre optic fuel quantity sensor compatible with 100% SAF
- an Electronic Flight Bag application featuring Smart Airport Maps, a component of Jeppesen FliteDeck Pro, which reduces operational costs and supports safe taxi operations with the depiction of contextual airport data.
Since its initial flights in 2012, the Boeing ecoDemonstrator programme accelerated innovation by taking new technologies out of the lab and testing them in an operational environment. Including the 2023 plan, the program will have tested about 250 technologies to help decarbonize aviation, improve operational efficiency and enhance safety and passenger experience.
Approximately one third of tested technologies have progressed onto Boeing’s products and services.
Cover photo: ecoDemonstrator-Explorer787. All photos © Boeing. Information from the Boeing Company press releases were used.