Boeing (IW 500/16) today is beginning a series of commercial flights designed to showcase advances in operational efficiency.
Boeing is teaming with KLM Royal Dutch Airlines on the "Optimal Flight" program, which will show how advanced technologies and fuels can improve efficiency, cut fuel usage and lower carbon and noise emissions across the board -- flight -- preflight, takeoff, cruise, descent and post-landing.
It kicks off with a roundtrip flight of a KLM Boeing 777-200 from Amsterdam Airport Schiphol to John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York. Twenty-five additional flights will follow through the end of 2013.
"Boeing is committed to improving the efficiency of flight by working with progressive airlines such as KLM to accelerate smart technololgies and make them available for regular commercial use," said Julie Felgar, managing director of environment and aviation policy for Boeing Commercial Airplanes.
The flights will partially use biofuel (generated from used cooking oil), and will employ new digital aviation and air traffic management concepts such as automated integration of the flight plan and performance data into the flight management computer and software that provides tips on how to optimize the aircraft's speed and supplies real-time weather data.
If the program is successful, Boeing and KLM plan to set new operational procedures and form new developmental programs with other partners.
"It combines all of Boeing's current flight efficiency projects in a single program to demonstrate the most efficient, environmentally progressive flight possible," said Mike Caflisch, director of airspace programs for Boeing's Digital Aviation Customer Solutions.
"This demonstration program will help us determine where next to focus our research and development to deliver improvements to air traffic management and airline services for our customers," he said.