Boeing has formed a partnership with Alaska Airlines to test around 20 aviation-oriented technologies as part of the latest iteration of its ecoDemonstrator program. Using a new 737-9 as a flying lab, the program will focus on technologies designed to “enhance the safety and sustainability of air travel.” Once testing is complete, the aircraft will be configured for passenger service and delivered to Alaska Airlines.
“Alaska Airlines flies to some of the most beautiful and geographically diverse regions in the world and we are committed to finding ways to reduce climate impacts across our network,” said Diana Birkett Rakow, Alaska Airlines vice president for public affairs and sustainability. “This work with Boeing to accelerate innovation on the ecoDemonstrator program enables us to contribute to a more sustainable future for our global community.”
ecoDemonstrator flights are expected to begin later this summer. Technologies slated for testing include a new fire extinguishing agent, acoustic lining concepts for engine nacelles and a cabin sidewall panel that uses carbon composite material recycled from Boeing 777X wing production. According to Boeing, the ecoDemonstrator program has tested more than 200 technologies since it began in 2012.
What exactly is the “global climate impact” of an airliner to 3 decimal places? They have to have that number before they can make a change, right?
Innovative progress is rarely a straight line process. Much like scientific research, a lot of the results are hardly novel, or even worthwhile. But, sometimes, the little things add up to something useful and significant. This doesn’t sound like the grand stand play that Boom and United Airlines are playing, where the primary result is a public relations event. This project sounds like something that can be done relatively inexpensively, with the hope of some small positive outcomes.
If the aim is to reduce climate “impact”, then they have to have a known starting point. Without that, there is no possible way to research reducing “impact”.
It’s a simple rational question.
This sounds like Boeing is trying to make its planes more efficient by using processes and materials that get closer to the edge of safety while burning less fuel. Boeing likes to sell airplanes and airlines like to lower fuel costs. This isn’t being done to make airplanes safer, or save the environment, it’s being done to make money.
Sounds reasonable. As predicted I don’t like the virtue signaling in the press release but reasonable efforts to conserve resources are intelligent, provided they don’t adversely significantly affect costs and operations.