MIAMI – The next phase of the Boeing ecoDemonstrator Program has begun using a 787-10 destined for Etihad Airways (EY). Boeing partnered with EY on the 2020 program using one of the carrier’s Dreamliners to test projects that can reduce emissions and noise.

The aircraft, N8572C/tbr A6-BMI, sn: 60768, ln: 1032, arrived at Boeing Field, from Charleston as “Boeing 069 Heavy” on August 14. A few days after its arrival, Boeing prepared the aircraft with the addition of various sensors.

Today the aircraft flew for the first time after having the modifications completed. Most of the sensors are on the port side of the aircraft. The flight was no accompanying chase aircraft.

Etihad Airways Boeing 787-10 N8572C ecoDemonstrator Program. Photo: Joe G. Walker

Boeing’s ecoDemonstrator Program

The ecoDemonstrator Program is a Boeing research flight test project. The company has used a series of specially modified aircraft in the program to develop and test aviation technologies designed to improve fuel economy and reduce airline noise and environmental footprint.

The ecoDemonstrator system speeds up progress by bringing emerging innovations out of the laboratory and testing them in the air to address real-world problems for airlines, travelers, and the climate, according to Boeing’s website.

Each year a new aircraft is used as a flying test bed to evaluate projects that enhance the entire aviation ecosystem.

Etihad Airways Boeing 787-10 N8572C ecoDemonstrator Program. Photo: Joe G. Walker

Technologies Tested

Projects range from systems that improve safety and minimize fuel consumption, pollution and noise to cabin facilities that make passenger travel more enjoyable. Additionally, Boeing test features such as smart galleys, seats and lavatories that improve airline reliability and fleet and Crew efficiencies.

Collaboration with industry partners is foundational to the ecoDemonstrator program to support the constant evolution of new ideas and advance aviation.

This collaboration builds on a strategic sustainability alliance Boeing and Etihad formed in the fall of 2019. Other key partners on the 2020 program include NASA and Safran Landing Systems.

Etihad Airways Boeing 787-10 N8572C ecoDemonstrator Program. Photo: Joe G. Walker

53 ecoDemonstrator Projects in 2019

Last year, Boeing carried out 53 projects on one of its Boeing 777-200. According to Boeing’s ecoDemonstrator Program Technology Testing Highlights, it tested the following technologies:

• Shape memory alloys developed in collaboration with NASA enable vortex generators to move based on the temperature. The small fins on the airplane’s wings raise up during takeoff and landing to improve airflow, then retract during cruise when they’re not needed to reduce drag, improve fuel efficiency, and lower emissions.

• Electronic flight bag application uses next-generation communications to automatically reroute an airplane when weather conditions warrant.

• Operational efficiency project enables pilots, air traffic controllers, and an airline’s operations center to share digital information simultaneously to optimize routing and enhance safety by reducing workload and radio frequency congestion.

• Boeing’s self-disinfecting lavatory uses ultraviolet light to disinfect all surfaces, killing 99.9% of germs in about three seconds after every use. The lavatory also includes a UV sanitizing system for the sink faucet and a moisture-absorbing floor made from recycled carbon composite material.

• Galleys equipped with sensors can help cabin crews locate catering items faster and enable airlines to better manage their inventory by using data analytics. This can significantly reduce waste — particularly on international flights where regulations require the disposal of any food remaining onboard after arrival.

Etihad Airways Boeing 787-10 N8572C ecoDemonstrator Program. Photo: Joe G. Walker