NASA, Boeing and TUI : Take-off to a more sustainable future

NASA, Boeing and the TUI Group are pooling their innovative strengths and collaborating in a scientific project. The flight tests with the „ecoDemonstrator 757“ will serve to evaluate new technologies to improve aviation’s efficiency and reduce noise and carbon emissions.

With the first test flight taking off from Seattle, the cooperation partners have now started several months of flights with their “ecoDemonstrator 757” to evaluate new technologies to improve the aerodynamic efficiency of commercial aviation.

ecoDemonstrator aircraft

The flight tests continue Boeing ecoDemonstrator Program’s multi-year effort to test new technologies. “The Boeing ecoDemonstrator program is focused on putting new, more environmentally efficient technologies and airplanes in the hands of our customers sooner,” said Mike Sinnett, vice president of Product Development, Boeing Commercial Airplanes.

TUI Group, as the world’s largest integrated tourism group with about 140 aircraft, is also working continuously to reduce its environmental impact and encourage its suppliers and customers to do the same. “We are very pleased to partner with Boeing for the next phase of their ecoDemonstrator program, as TUI Group is highly committed to achieving further environmental efficiency across our whole business and remaining the industry leader on carbon efficiency with our airlines,” said Thomas Ellerbeck, member of the TUI Group Executive Committee.

New technologies include active flow control, bug-phobic wing coatings

On the left wing, Boeing will evaluate technologies to improve aerodynamic efficiency. As an example, the ecoDemonstrator 757 will test a Krueger shield that can protect the leading edge from insects.

In cooperation with NASA two other technologies will be tested. On the right wing, NASA will test bug-phobic coatings to reduce the drag caused by the residue left. On the vertical tail NASA and Boeing are testing active flow control to improve airflow over the rudder and maximize its aerodynamic efficiency. Based on wind-tunnel testing, active flow control could improve the rudder’s efficiency by up to 20 percent and may allow for a smaller vertical tail design in the future.

Our researchers have been working hard to develop technologies to reduce airplane fuel consumption, noise and emissions. Being able to prove those concepts in flight tests gives them a better shot of getting into the commercial fleet,” said Fay Collier, Environmentally Responsible Aviation project manager, NASA.

With the exception of Boeing proprietary technology, the knowledge gained from ecoDemonstrator research will be publicly available to benefit the industry.

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Seattle, 18 March 2015


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