• Joe Breitfeller

Etihad Airways Boeing 787-10 ecoDemonstrator Testing Quieter, Cleaner Air Travel

Etihad Airways announced the launch of flight testing this week for their Boeing 787-10 ecoDemonstrator. In collaboration with Boeing, NASA and Safran, the aircraft has been equipped with special equipment to enhance safety as well as reduce CO2 and noise.

Etihad Boeing 787-10 ecoDemonstrator - Courtesy Etihad Airways

Today (August 26, 2020), Etihad Airways announced the start of testing on their Boeing 787-10 ecoDemonstrator in cooperation with Boeing, NASA and Safran. The Dreamliner has been outfitted with specialized equipment that can enhance safety, reduce CO2 emissions and reduce the aircraft’s noise footprint. The aircraft test-bed will perform a series of flights that will help gather the most comprehensive information to date about aircraft acoustics from 1,200 microphones attached to the outside of the aircraft fuselage and on the ground. The collaboration between NASA and Boeing will help improve noise prediction capabilities, advance ways for pilots to reduce noise and inform future aircraft design. In Wednesday’s announcement, NASA’s Technical Lead, Dr. Russell Thomas said,

“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. 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.”

Also commenting on Today’s announcement, Etihad Aviation Group’s Chief Operating Officer, Mohammad Al Bulooki added,

“Etihad participating in this year’s ecoDemonstrator programme builds on our core innovation and sustainability tenets while supporting the research and development of our partners to bring innovation from the laboratory to a real world testing environment. 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 COVID-19 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.”

According to industry figures, most aircraft noise complaints stem from aircraft approaching airports and about one-quarter of the noise can be attributable to the landing gear. Therefore, another project on the ecoDemonstrator is a modified landing gear designed to reduce noise by Safran Landing Systems. Additionally, two flights will be conducted where pilots, air traffic control (ATC) and the airline’s operating center will simultaneously share information and use a NASA system called ‘Tailored Arrival Management.’ The tools are designed to reduce workload and radio congestion, while optimizing routing efficiency to reduce fuel consumption and noise footprint in support of the FAA’s Next Generation ATC System.

The ecoDemonstrator will also test the efficacy of a handheld ultraviolet light in disinfecting flight decks and cabins as part of Boeing’s Confident Travel Initiative to address COVID-19. All scheduled flight tests will be conducted with 50% sustainable fuel which include the largest volume of commercially produced 50% biofuel blend. The flight testing will be carried out at Boeing’s Glasgow, Montana facility for ten days before the aircraft is delivered to Etihad Airways in September. Boeing’s ecoDemonstrator program utilizing the Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner was first launched in 2012.

Source: Etihad Airways