an airport with grassy areas, a neighboring bayou swamp and thick humidity—making it the perfect insect AUGUST 2015 17 Go behind the scenes as Boeing takes its ecoDemonstrator to Louisiana—and gets the bugs out by Dan Raley | Photos by Bob Ferguson Bugs were an issue for Boeing, but exterminators and repellents weren’t the solution. Rather than have a pest infestation removed, aerodynamics engineers Doug Christensen and Tom Farrell went looking for a nasty swarm of insects—the bigger, the better. They wanted to fly the ecoDemonstrator 757 repeatedly into the heaviest concentration of flies, bees and mosquitoes they could find in order to come up with ways to design future airplane wings that are more bug-splatter-resistant— making the airplane more fuel-efficient. They first had to decide where. With help from one of the country’s leading entomologists, a team of Boeing employees, NASA personnel and others settled on Shreveport, La. The Southern city had everything— Photos: (Left) Lynn Kimsey, University of California–Davis entomology professor, pursues a bug sample during Boeing testing in Shreveport, La. (Above) Twelve different insects, including a crane fly like this one, were detected on the wings of the ecoDemonstrator 757 during Boeing bug testing in Louisiana.
Frontiers August 2015 Issue
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