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Boeing and NASA Will Collaborate With U.S. Airlines on Sustainable Flight Demonstrator Project

From EAA AirVenture Oshkosh today, Boeing and NASA announced that U.S. airlines will collaborate on their Sustainable Flight Demonstrator (SFD) project. The advisory coalition includes Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta, Southwest and United Airlines.

Rendering of Boeing and NASA's X-66A Sustainable Flight Demonstrator (SFD) Airplane - Courtesy Boeing

On Tuesday (July 25, 2023), from EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, Boeing and NASA announced the collaboration with U.S. airlines on their Sustainable Flight Demonstrator (SFD) project. Airline members of the advisory coalition include Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Airlines, Southwest Airlines and United Airlines. NASA and Boeing also unveiled the new X-66A livery today in Oshkosh. The experimental X-66A aircraft will test the Transonic Truss-Braced Wing (TTBW) airframe configuration and will be built from a modified MD-90 airplane at a Boeing facility in Palmdale, California. This will be NASA’s first X-plane focused on the goal of achieving net-zero GHG emissions.

In Tuesday’s announcement, Boeing’s Chief technology Officer, Todd Citron, said,

“Hearing directly from the operators during all phases of the Sustainable Flight Demonstrator project will help us understand exact requirements and tradeoffs. The airlines' feedback will significantly contribute to the X-66A project learnings while furthering aviation sustainability.”

The TTBW configuration, when combined with advancements in propulsion systems, sustainable operations and airport compatibility, is projected to reduce fuel use and emissions by up to 30 percent relative to today’s domestic fleet.

While the X-66A aircraft will have a wingspan of 145 feet, the Transonic Truss-Based Wing could be used in the design of airplanes of different sizes and missions, and may benefit from folding wings to accommodate existing airport infrastructure. Airline pilots will be afforded the opportunity to experience the X-66A through a flight simulator to evaluate the airplane’s handling characteristics, while airline operations and maintenance teams will assess the X-66A as modifications are made. Flight testing is scheduled for 2028 and 2029 at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force base.

Source: Boeing/PRNewswire


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