Rich Report Relays News From Nasa And Boeing Will Test A Long-Range Narrowbody Airliner

Rich Report Relays News From Nasa And Boeing Will Test A Long-Range Narrowbody Airliner
Courtesy of NASA

The test flight is scheduled for 2028. As part of the Sustainable Flight Demonstrator (SFD) project, aerodynamic, materials, and engine improvements are being made to reduce fuel burn by 30 percent compared to contemporary narrowbodies. Boeing and other partners will shoulder the remainder of the $725 million project costs. NASA will contribute $425 million.

As NASA administrator Bill Nelson said, the demonstrator targets 50 percent of the commercial air transport market with its short- to medium-haul capabilities. In the 2030s, program leaders hope that the testing will help adapt the technologies needed to bring a new narrowbody aircraft to market.

The purpose of this experiment is to demonstrate the benefits of a highly aerodynamic, extra-long, thin wing stabilized by braces that will reduce drag and make the aircraft more fuel-efficient.

According to NASA associate administrator Bob Pearce, the SFD represents the culmination of 15 years of research on projects like this. NASA is contributing its technical expertise and testing support at the Armstrong Flight Resource Center in California as well as fixed payments as the partners reach various milestones for this particular project, he explained. Boeing is bringing its manufacturing resources and knowledge to the project.

Among the benefits of the demonstrator will be the benefit of separate research partnerships, especially the Transonic Truss Brace Wing (TTP) configuration, for which numerous wind tunnel tests and digital modeling have been conducted. When the demonstrator takes to the skies in 2028, its wings will be ultra-thin, braced by trusses, and will have a larger span, enhancing aerodynamic efficiency. As a result of this high-wing configuration, advanced propulsion systems can be installed under the wings.

Other manufacturers submitted "excellent" proposals to NASA, but Boeing's "by far" proved to be the most competitive.

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