Frontiers September 2014 23 the talents of employees in Boeing Research & Technology, Boeing Test & Evaluation, and many Commercial Airplanes departments, including Environmental Strategy, Engineering, and Commercial Aviation Services and Supplier Management. The ecoDemonstrator program also works with airline customers, suppliers and NASA and in support of the Federal Aviation Administration’s CLEEN program, short for Continuous Lower Energy, Emissions and Noise. Felgar said the ecoDemonstrator program “motivates agencies like the FAA and NASA to actively seek technologies they could test on the ecoDemonstrator. The whole program draws everyone along on the timeline.” Earlier this summer, the FAA CLEEN program completed flight testing of an engine exhaust nozzle made of ceramic matrix composites, developed by Boeing Research & Technology, on the ecoDemonstrator 787 Test Airplane. Ceramic matrix composites are designed to make engines quieter, lighter and more efficient. The CLEEN program is a competitively bid five-year program, with costs shared by participants. “The nozzle is a great example of how we are working together within Boeing and externally with a government customer to accelerate the maturity of a technology that can benefit industry, airlines and the flying public,” said Craig Wilsey, Boeing’s CLEEN program manager. Both the FAA and NASA engage in research to advance the science of aerospace for public benefit. However, the application of government research to commercial products is industry’s responsibility, Felgar said. Teams are already at work installing equipment on the 2015 flying test bed, a leased 757 that will fly next summer with airline customer TUI Travel PLC, the largest tourism group in the world. Boeing is working with NASA on nanotechnology surface coatings to lower the accumulation of insect residue on the wing leading edge to reduce drag. In addition, Boeing and NASA are testing active flow control on the 757’s vertical fin, which could result in the design of a simpler, smaller structure to reduce weight and improve fuel use. Other on-board technologies planned for 2015 include interiors made of more sustainable materials, lowerweight flight-deck components and fuel indicators, and high-speed data communications for more efficient flight. In addition, the next phase of testing will begin on a variable area fan nozzle that alters the geometry of the engine fan duct during flight, for reduced fuel consumption. The initial prototypes were flight-tested in 2012. Loading multiple technologies onto each test flight saves time and money—and it energizes employees working in research and development, Akiyama said. In some cases, engineers see their technology offered to the market within two years. That was the case for several technologies tested on the 2012 ecoDemonstrator that are now offered by Jeppesen, a Boeing subsidiary, for the general aviation market. Engineers always will rely on wind tunnels, simulations and analysis in the development of technology, Akiyama said, but there’s no substitute for seeing everything work together on the airplane. “The actual flight conditions—how the airplane operates as an integrated system, all the variables tested—it gets you there faster than analysis and wind-tunnel tests will,” Akiyama said. It also reduces the risk of production and operational error. “Moving quickly and learning faster means we identify production risks faster. Prototypes help us prove the technology before we introduce it,” Yu said. “It is about future generations— how do we leave aviation better than we came into it?” n email@example.com View a related video at boeing.com/ frontiers/videos/september14. PHOTO: The ecoDemonstrator 787 test airplane is silhouetted against a bright sky over Moses Lake in Eastern Washington during tests earlier this summer.
Frontiers September 2014 Issue
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