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Getting to Know Boeing’s ecoDemonstrator

Jen Wollmann


If you’re not familiar with Boeing’s ecoDemonstrator, chances are you will be by the end of AirVenture. Boeing has brought to Oshkosh the 777-200ER (extended range) it’s using as the 2022 Boeing ecoDemonstrator test platform, and it’s making it available for public tours — a rare opportunity for a behind-the-scenes look at how new aerospace technologies are tested.

The program first took flight 10 years ago, taking promising technologies out of the lab and testing them rigorously in an operational environment. In that time Boeing has partnered with customers, suppliers, government agencies, academia, and other stakeholders to test 230 technologies across nine different platforms, with about a third of those being implemented on aircraft today.

These partnerships are key to accelerating technologies that further enable aviation’s relentless pursuit to improve efficiency, minimize its environmental footprint, enhance safety, and improve the passenger experience.

Visitors who take the tour will be able to see and learn more about some of the technologies being tested with partners this year, including:

  • A continued comprehensive study of the impact of sustainable aviation fuel toward the reduction of emissions, a collaboration with NASA, supporting Boeing’s commitment that all commercial airplanes it delivers will be certified to fly using 100-percent sustainable aviation fuel by 2030.
  • SMART vortex generators, small vertical vanes on the wing that improve aerodynamic efficiency during takeoff and landing. Shape memory alloys developed with NASA enable the vortex generators to retract into the wing during cruise, improving fuel efficiency and reducing carbon emissions.
  • A collaboration with Diehl Aviation to test a water conservation system that uses wastewater from hand-washing to flush the lavatories, reducing weight and fuel use.
  • UV disinfection technology in partnership with Collins Aerospace and Jamco.
  • Boeing is testing several technologies aimed at improving operational efficiency, including a capability that can improve situational awareness for pilots during airplane taxiing. This includes combining airport data sources with Jeppesen airport maps to enable single-engine taxi operations to reduce fuel consumption.
  • A partnership with Universal Avionics to test a next-generation head-worn head-up display and enhanced vision system camera.

Boeing’s 2022 ecoDemonstrator will be open to the public for tours Monday, July 25, through Wednesday, July 27. Tour times vary slightly each day, with final tours given at 3:30 p.m. Check posted hours for the latest tour schedule.

After your tour, check out the Boeing pavilion, where you can see the winglet that was actually tested as part of the 2012 ecoDemonstrator and influenced winglet design on the 737 MAX. You can also learn more about the company’s commitment to sustainability and how it supports the civil aviation industry’s commitment to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

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