Boeing’s ecoDemonstrator program is flight test research program of aircraft company Boeing, which has used a series of specially modified aircraft to develop and test aviation technologies designed to improve fuel economy and reduce the noise and ecological footprint of airliners.
The 777 joins a fleet comprised of a 737-800, a 787-8 Dreamliner, a 757, an Embraer E170 and a 777 Freighter.
Some of the projects to be tested in 2019 are:
- Sharing digital information between air traffic control, the flight deck and an airline’s operations centre to optimize routing efficiency and safety.
- An electronic flight bag application that uses next-generation communications to automatically provide rerouting information to pilots when weather conditions warrant.
- Connected cabin technologies that make galleys and lavatories smart, and monitor cabin conditions such as temperature and humidity to facilitate automatic adjustments.
- Cameras to provide more passengers with a view outside the aircraft.
Mike Sinnett, vice president of product strategy and future airplane development at Boeing Commercial Airplanes said: “Using the 777 flying test bed lets us learn faster and move forward on improvements much quicker and with greater fidelity in defining their value.”
Some systems already in use include iPad apps that provide real-time information to pilots, enabling them to reduce fuel use and emissions, a custom approach path information system to reduce community noise and a camera system that will be used on the 777X to help pilots avoid ground obstacles.
Flight testing of the projects will be carried out this autumn when the aircraft will also visit Frankfurt, Germany to government officials and industry representatives along with STEM students to help inspire the next generation.