The combined Boeing-Embraer team flew more than 15 flights totaling more than 35 flight hours in 2016. These are some technologies demonstrated.
Ice Phobic Paint
Today’s paints require regular airplane washing and do not provide ice phobic characteristics. This new coating was applied to the nose of the test aircraft and its performance for ice release and the ability to require less washing was evaluated.
The testing for the new ice phobic paint was broken into two focus areas.
Embraer’s focus was to test the application, appearance and in-service durability of the testing. Embraer engineers monitored the application process to understand how the new paint worked in the existing application system, and it was determined that the paint was compatible with their existing paint equipment and hangers. They also measured the appearance of the paint after application. The paint produced an acceptable appearance and passed the testing required by the manufacturer. The test aircraft will continue to fly in Embraer’s test fleet. The paint will be monitored to measure the in-service durability and appearance.
Boeing’s focus was on the lab testing of the paint for rain erosion durability and ice phobic characteristics. Leading edge samples were painted with the new paint product, and then tested in Boeing’s Whirl Arm rain erosion test facility. Engineers examined its ability to meet tough durability requirements for use on aircraft surfaces that face the direct flow of air. The results were mixed and additional future testing will be required.
Small bar test hardware was also painted with the new product and tested at the Anti-icing Materials International Library centrifuge ice test facility in Quebec, Canada. While there were signs of improvement, true ice-phobic paint is still years ahead of us.
—Dimitrios Priftis, Boeing Research & Technology, Ladson, South Carolina
Slat noise cove fillers
New leading-edge slat designs reduce unsteady air flows, which would lower noise for communities as the airplane is on approach. Boeing and Embraer co-led the design for a new slat shape for the E170 prototype aircraft.
Teams of engineers from both companies evaluated new slat shapes for high-lift performance and noise-reduction characteristics. Computational fluid dynamic codes were used to design the shape and predict the amount of noise reduction for the aircraft.
Two configurations were designed, analyzed, built and tested on the prototype aircraft. Initial indications show that the noise due to air flow around the leading edge slat can be reduced by as much as 10 decibels.
—Rachelle Speth, Boeing Research &Technology, St. Louis
Optical Air Data
Utilizing Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) technology, the Boeing and Embraer ecoDemonstrator program demonstrated the ability of lasers to measure air data parameters such as air speed, atmospheric pressure, temperature and others.
Boeing and Embraer worked with an industry supplier to acquire flight hardware to test the ability of LIDAR to measure air data at a variety of flight profile conditions and, more importantly, a variety of atmospheric conditions. The supplier equipment was installed and tested on the ground to investigate the ability to integrate onto a flight test vehicle.
After the system was validated on the ground, the flight demonstrator flew a series of test conditions over several days and weather conditions to record data and compare to the ship system.
LIDAR systems continue to show promise for the aviation industry and this test provided valuable data to advance LIDAR technology. Potential use in the aviation industry includes flight test data system improvements, engine inlet probe replacements, aircraft performance benefits, and turbulence detection and mitigation.
—Duncan Weber, Boeing Commercial Airplanes, Seattle
Boundary Layer Data System
Flight tests demonstrated the installation and application of an autonomous Boundary Layer Data Measurement System (BLDS) to measure airflow on a laminar wing or tail surface at commercial aviation flight speeds and altitudes.
Boeing partnered with U.S.-based university experts to develop a flight-test device that could be attached to the external surface of an airplane and, in conjunction with airflow rake instrumentation hardware, measure airflow characteristics at flight speeds and conditions. Embraer provided the flight test vehicle and the predicted airflow characteristics to which the device data could be compared.
The device recorded the data autonomously, which removed the requirement to run flight-test wiring, significantly reducing the cost of flight-test instrumentation. Results of the data show an excellent match to the predicted characteristics and demonstrated that the device could be attached externally (without fasteners) and record data at all commercial aircraft flight conditions.
This device provided low-cost data to improve the efficiency of flight-test data acquisition, resulting in less fuel use and lower emissions.
—Kevin Mejia, Boeing Test & Evaluation, Seattle
Sustainable Aviation Fuel
Boeing and Embraer contracted with a Brazilian company to provide biofuel for all of the flight testing in Brazil. The ecoDemonstrator program used a 10 percent blend of this biofuel made from waste Brazilian sugarcane.
Biofuels reduce lifecycle emissions by 50 to 80 percent when compared to fossil fuels. This demonstration highlighted to the aviation industry that local biofuels are available and can be used to fuel aircraft from any facility.
—Onofre Andrade, Boeing Research & Technology, Brazil