The ‘ecoDemonstrator’ is a flying Boeing 777 test bed.
One of the key drivers for the Boeing ecoDemonstrator programme is collaboration with industry partners to jointly test technologies and share lessons that advance aviation.
More than a dozen partners are participating in the 2019 programme, including iCabin, an industry consortium developing a connectivity standard for networked cabins of the future.
Its latest program is testing connected cabin technologies.
The connected cabin technologies would make for a smart cabin with galleys and lavatories ‘connected’ by intelligent systems that monitor conditions such as temperature and humidity to facilitate automatic adjustments.
Among the technologies being tested on this year’s ecoDemonstrator program are:
- Sharing digital information between air traffic control, the flight deck and an airline’s operations center 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 airplane.
Flight tests to be conducted later in 2019 will include a trip to Frankfurt Airport in Germany, where the ecoDemonstrator’s technology mission will be presented to government officials, industry representatives and STEM students to help inspire the next generation in aerospace leadership. Most of the test flights will be made using sustainable aviation fuel to demonstrate its viability.
Boeing’s ecoDemonstrator programme first took to the skies in 2012. Five aircraft – a 737-800, 787-8 Dreamliner, a 757, an Embraer E170 and a 777 freighter – have tested 112 technologies through 2018. The ecoDemonstrator’ Boeing 777 is trialling circa 50 projects. More than a third of the technologies have transitioned to implementation at Boeing or by programme partners. Nearly half remain in further development while testing on the other projects was discontinued.
Mike Sinnett, vice president of product strategy and future airplane development at Boeing Commercial Airplanes: “This is the latest addition to our ecoDemonstrator programme, where we look at how crew and passengers can have a better experience and how technologies can make flying safer, more efficient and more enjoyable”.
“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.”