posted on Sep, 2 2014 @ 12:24 PM
Boeing has begun flights using their 787 EcoDemonstrator, as opposed to the polished aluminum 737-800 they had leased from American Airlines. The
first program (the aircraft is currently undergoing modifications for further flights), saw the installation of a CMC exhaust nozzle on the
aircraft's #2 engine. It's the largest piece ever built out of CMC, and Boeing thinks that this will lead to more fuel efficient engines, and
better engine to airframe designs.
The flights took place under the FAA CLEEN program, and showed that the exhaust nozzle was both lighter, and more heat resistant. GE is currently
working on the Passport business jet engine program, that is the first non-military engine to incorporate CMCs in it. The 787 is currently undergoing
refit for tests involving connectivity, materials, flight deck, flight sciences and flight test efficiency.
Starting in 2015, they will lease a 757-200 from TUI to add to the program. That aircraft will undergo modifications to the tail, to test an Active
Flow Control laminar flow system, as opposed to the hybrid system that Boeing has begun using on the 787-9 aircraft. In wind tunnel tests, the AFC
provided better rudder control. Ultimately, they are looking to decrease the tail size, and increase control effectiveness.
Boeing’s ecoDemonstrator is back – but this time the company is using a 787 for the role rather than the polished aluminum 737-800 which it
leased from American Airlines for the first ecoDem mission in 2012. The first task for the aircraft, Boeing’s fourth 787 development unit ZA004, was
an evaluation of an engine nozzle made from Oxide-Oxide ceramic matrix composite (CMC).