WISCONSIN- US Aerospace giant Boeing and leading space research organization NASA have joined forces with major US airlines to work on the Sustainable Flight Demonstrator (SFD) project and the development of the revolutionary X-66A research aircraft.
In an effort to advance aviation sustainability, Alaska Airlines (AS), American Airlines (AA), Delta Air Lines (DL), Southwest Airlines (WN), and United Airlines (UA) will actively participate in providing valuable insights.
This includes services and insights on operational efficiencies, maintenance, handling characteristics, and airport compatibility for the new X-66A aircraft.
US Airlines to Support Boeing and NASA
NASA and Boeing took the opportunity at the EAA AirVenture Oshkosh to unveil the impressive new livery for the X-66A aircraft. Subsequently, marking a significant step towards achieving net-zero aviation greenhouse gas emissions.
The X-66A research aircraft, based on a modified MD-90 aircraft at a Boeing facility in Palmdale, Calif., will serve as a platform to test the Transonic Truss-Braced Wing (TTBW) airframe configuration.
This innovative project aims to reduce fuel consumption and emissions significantly. Further, it has the potential to reduce it by up to 30% compared to the current domestic fleet of airplanes.
With the combined advancements in propulsion systems, materials, and systems architecture, the X-66A will pave the way toward a greener future for aviation.
Todd Citron, Boeing’s chief technology officer, emphasized the importance of direct input from the airlines during all stages of the Sustainable Flight Demonstrator project.
The valuable feedback from the airline operators will aid in understanding precise requirements and trade-offs. While furthering the aircraft’s sustainability objectives.
Throughout the project, the U.S. airlines will play a critical role in providing essential feedback:
- Design Phase: Airline participants will contribute their insights on sustainable operations and airport compatibility. Further, the adaptable TTBW design, with a wingspan of 145 feet, can be utilized by aircraft of various sizes and missions. Subsequently, it may incorporate folding wing tips to accommodate existing airport infrastructure.
- Simulation and Lab Testing: Airline pilots can experience the X-66A through a flight simulator, authorizing them to evaluate the aircraft’s handling attributes.
- Flight Testing: Airline operations and maintenance teams will actively assess the X-66A as changes are made to the demonstrator. Flight testing is scheduled for 2028 and 2029 at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base.
This collaborative effort among Boeing, NASA, and the major U.S. airlines exemplifies the aviation industry’s commitment to sustainability.
Further, it underscores the importance of partnership in achieving groundbreaking advancements in aircraft technology.
By harnessing collective expertise and insights, the future of aviation looks promising with cleaner and more eco-friendly skies.
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