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Boeing 757 ecoDemonstrator starts flight tests

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posted on Mar, 25 2015 @ 11:26 AM
Boeings 757 ecoDemonstrator has begun test flights with an actively blown vertical tail, and new leading edge sections. Natural laminar flow on the wings can reduce fuel burn by 15%. For testing the second and third leading edge slats have been altered and coated with "bug-phobic" coatings. A simple bug impact to the wing can change the flow from smooth to turbulent. So several different coatings are being tested.

The active controls will allow for a smaller vertical fin (up to 17% smaller), reducing drag and improving fuel burn another 2%. The AFC tests will only be done on the right side of the vertical fin, using 31 passive sweet jet actuators. Pressurized air is supplied by the APU and precooled to 38 degrees. NASA says that a 20% improvement in rudder effectiveness will allow for large decreases in size, weight, and drag.

To test its effectiveness in the asymmetrical forces seen on take off, the engines have been altered so that a PW 2037 on one wing, and a PW 2040 on the other wing.

Test flights are getting underway of a Boeing 757 with an actively blown vertical tail and new wing-leading-edge sections, which could pave the way for the wider use of natural laminar and active flow control technology in future airliner designs.

The aircraft, which first flew on March 17 from Boeing Field near Seattle, is the company’s third ecoDemonstrator technology testbed, following earlier campaigns with a 737-800 and 787-8. Supported by the European airline group TUI and conducted jointly with NASA as part of the agency’s Environmentally Responsible Aviation (ERA) program, the testing will focus primarily on two methods of protecting wing leading edges from the laminar flow-destroying effect of residue left by insect strikes, as well as the performance of the active flow control (AFC) tail.

Increasing the use of natural laminar flow (NLF) on an aircraft wing has the potential to improve fuel burn by as much as 15%, while AFC technology could lead to a 17% reduction in tail size, which would reduce drag and weight, cutting as much as another 2% in fuel burn. Preserving NLF is difficult, however, as even small contaminants from insect remains will trip the flow from laminar to turbulent, destroying the performance benefit.

posted on Mar, 25 2015 @ 11:37 AM
With less fuel consumed, does that mean I won't have to pay $800 for a plane ticket out of Alaska?

posted on Mar, 25 2015 @ 11:40 AM
a reply to: MystikMushroom

Theoretically. It'll be a couple more generations of aircraft before we see these in wide use though.


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