Bombardier unveiled images of its EcoJet research project’s second test phase to the attendees of NBAA-BACE 2023. The OEM said the “promising” flight tests were conducted with an 18ft-wide demonstrator and have generated important results, contributing to the advancement of the project.
Bombardier’s EcoJet research project aims to reduce aircraft emissions by up to 50% through a combination of aerodynamic, propulsion and other enhancements. EcoJet is a sustainability-focused research and technology initiative that started 15 years ago. This project has successfully materialised into a family of Blended Wing Body (BWB) test vehicles, with flight tests being conducted to develop and mature relevant technologies.
Bombardier said the analysis of the data gathered from the 18ft-wide prototype will allow its engineering team to perfect its knowledge of new aviation control laws that are adapted to the radically different BWB geometry, bound to be applied to more sustainable, future business aircraft.
“Our engineers are eager to start working with the results yielded by this second phase of the flight test programme,” said Stephen McCullough, senior vice president of engineering and product development. “Building on the significant data drawn from the initial flight-testing phase, and now leveraging a model twice as large as the first prototype, we can further refine our analysis. With each additional experimental stage, we are paving the way for more sustainable aircraft designs and new technologies.”
Flight campaigns on scaled test vehicles allow the organisation and its academic partners to explore the behaviour of BWB designed vehicles in free flight. Comprised of several free-flight campaigns, the flight-testing programme will be held over multiple years to generate increasingly precise data in real-world, representative environments.
The 18ft-wide prototype of Bombardier’s EcoJet research project has flown for the first time in 2022 and can fly autonomously. Bombardier’s Research and Technology team started testing the real-life feasibility of its theoretical work back in 2017 with the first prototype, which had a wingspan of approximately 8ft.