Oct. 5, 2020, © Leeham News: Even as Boeing works its way through the final days of the 737 MAX grounding and how to survive the COVID-19 crisis, it’s working on greener aviation.
LNA already reported how Boeing views the prospects of hydrogen, hybrid and electric power. Another article discusses Boeing’s work in disinfecting airplanes to combat COVID.
Here are some other areas Boeing is working on.
Boeing, using an Etihad Airways 787-10, installed a new-design landing gear on the plane. Designed by Safran, the gear has new airfoil shakes fairings that, in tests, significantly reduce noise on take-off and approach. Boeing declined to reveal how much it was reduced, as measured by decibels.
About 30% of the noise heard on landing is from extended landing gear.
“This is a concept that we’re working on with Safran to understand how we can make those landing gear quieter,” said Doug Christensen, a program leader on the Boeing ecoDemonstrator Program.
“We flew this configuration over the microphone array 23 passes and measured that data both on and off so we could find the difference. We’ll be evaluating that data.”
Christensen said that comments from the people that were on the ground during the testing said there was a noticeable noise reduction heard from the airplane.
“We haven’t quantified it yet,” he said. “They’re still looking at the data. Every one of those passes over the microphone produced 12 gigabytes of data.”
Boeing also is creating new technology that allows airlines to operate our airplanes more efficiently in and around the airspace. This would allow reduced fuel burn. New flight patterns could also reduce noise around airports.
“It provides an environment for the pilots that’s safer because there’s less voice communications,” Christensen said.
During the next eight years after the first year of Boeing’s eco program, it continued to provide flight resources in the forms of the ecoDemonstrators. The 737 and 777 were previous demonstrator airliners.
Boeing partnered with airlines or government agencies and, for a time, with Embraer.
At the end of that, Boeing created successive windows of flight opportunity, targeting technologies to those successive windows.
For example, in 2006, Boeing leased a 777 to perform flight controls testing on future 787 flight controls. This validated through a real-life flight environment concepts of how an airplane should be flown.
In 2012, Boeing flew the first ecoDemonstrator program, which was a 737, in partnership with American Airlines. An example of a technology that flew in that program was the natural laminar flow winglet, which is now part of the MAX configuration.
Etihad is working with GE to do engine washing with a new foam. This new foam is bringing some benefits toward making the engines even more efficient.
In another example, the airline is working with carpet manufacturers for lightweight carpets and also what happens to the carpet after it’s been used and how is it disposed of.