Bombardier has unveiled exclusive images of its EcoJet research project's second test phase to attendees at NBAA-BACE 2023. The promising flight tests were conducted with an 18ft wide demonstrator and have generated important results, contributing to the advancement of this pivotal project.
The project aims to reduce aircraft emissions by up to half through a combination of aerodynamic propulsion and other enhancements. EcoJet is a sustainability-focused research and technology initiative which started 15 years ago. It has successfully materialised into a family of Blended Wing Body (BWB) test vehicles, with flight tests being conducted to develop and mature relevant technologies. The analysis of the data gathered from the 18ft wide prototype will allow Bombardier's 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," says 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 test programme will be held over multiple years to generate increasingly precise data in real-world, representative environments.
The 18ft wide prototype flew for the first time in 2022 and can fly autonomously. Bombardier's research and technology team started testing real life feasibility of their theoretical work back in 2017 with the first prototype, which had a wingspan of approximately eight feet. While laying the foundation for more sustainable business jets, Bombardier will also leverage its EcoJet prototypes to continue creating incredible customer experience.