Boeing’s ecoDemonstrator program came into sharper focus at Paris for the first time. The manufacturer is partnering with American Airlines to conduct demonstrations with one of the airline’s latest 737-800s.
The effort will see a standard 737 production aircraft modified with several nearer-term technologies that within a few years could make a significant dent in operating costs on either a modified 737 or the New Small Airplane. They include an adaptive trailing edge, a variable area fan nozzle (VAN) and regenerative fuel cell technology. The adoption of the VAN is particularly interesting given that this is a feature which will appear on Pratt & Whitney’s PW1100G geared turbofan.
The aircraft will retain its American colors for the six-week flight test effort, the trailing edge element of which forms part of the FAA's continuous lower energy emissions noise (Cleen) program. The demonstrator, which will fly in the third quarter of 2012, will also evaluate software to enable flight trajectory optimization for in-flight planning. This will enable the use of more fuel-efficient routes as well as discretionary changes enroute for weather and other factors.