2020 ecoDemonstrator program advances a clear (and quiet) mission to improve sustainability

With role as the 2020 ecoDemonstrator flying test bed complete, airplane joins Etihad Airways fleet.

December 16, 2020 in Our Environment

Carefully position over 1,000 microphones on the ground and secure 222 more to the outside of a Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner with 75 pounds of speed tape. Connect them with some 32 miles of cables, coax and other wiring. Then use 274 computer processing cores to collect nearly 1.9 terabytes of information during seven test flights.

That’s just part of the equipment used on this year’s ecoDemonstrator program, which concluded earlier this fall before the airplane was delivered to partner Etihad Airways. The newest addition to the United Arab Emirates flag carrier’s fleet is in service now following a recent celebration in Abu Dhabi.

“Boeing’s partnership with Etihad Airways on this year’s ecoDemonstrator program has elevated our strategic sustainability alliance to a whole new level,” said Stan Deal, Boeing Commercial Airplanes president and CEO. “Collaborations like these accelerate innovation that further enhances the safety and sustainability of flying, and will benefit aviation and the world for years to come.”

In partnership with NASA, the program conducted the most comprehensive aeroacoustic research ever on a commercial airliner. The information will improve the agency’s airplane noise prediction capabilities, advance ways for pilots to reduce noise and inform future quiet aircraft designs.

Other testing evaluated a landing gear modified to be quieter by Safran Landing Systems and an ultraviolet light wand that safely disinfected the flight deck in just 15 minutes. Two transcontinental flights across the United States demonstrated a set of tools and procedures that optimized routing and arrival time to reduce CO2 emissions.

“As the first 787-10 to ever take part in the ecoDemonstrator program, this very special aircraft stands testament to the innovation and drive for sustainable aviation that forms a core element of Etihad’s values and long-term vision,” said Rami Awadalla, Etihad Airways director of Fleet

Engineering. “We’re incredibly proud of our partnership with Boeing, as this exciting and progressive program will have a real-world impact on our industry and demonstrates Etihad’s ambitious sustainability strategy.”

All test flights and the airplane’s journey home to Abu Dhabi flew on up to 50% sustainable aviation fuel. The full 50/50 blend comprised about 70,000 U.S. gallons — representing the largest amount ever commercially produced.

Watch the video to see how a brand new 787-10 was transformed into a flying test bed.

Visit Boeing’s Sustainability website for more information about the company’s environmental, social and governance efforts.

Walk through this Etihad Airways 787-10 and see special equipment the ecoDemonstrator program installed to test projects that will help make flying cleaner, quieter and more sustainable.

Paul Weatherman, Boeing Flight Test Photo