Boeing’s 787 ecoDemonstrator Enters Service With Etihad

Boeing’s 787 ecoDemonstrator aircraft has entered service with Etihad, following its delivery in October. Boeing used the aircraft to test environmental and noise reducing initiatives before its delivery.

Etihad, Boeing 787-10, ecoDemonstrator
Etihad today inaugurated its former Boeing ecoDemonstrator aircraft. Photo: Etihad

Many expected the 2020s to be the decade where the main focus in aviation was on the industry’s sustainability and driving down emissions. While airlines are still extremely focused on such goals, health and safety have become the central theme of aviation this year. One airline demonstrating its commitment to reducing its environmental footprint is Etihad. This year, the airline operated special flights with another of its 787-10s, known as the Greenliner.

The ecoDemonstrator is flying for Etihad

Etihad took delivery of the former Boeing 787-10 ecoDemonstrator in October. However, the aircraft has so far not been taking to the skies for the Abu Dhabi-based carrier. The aircraft took its first flight post-testing on November 25th as EY77 from Abu Dhabi to Amsterdam.

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It was only today the airline officially inaugurated the aircraft. The aircraft features a plaque commemorating its role, while some of its testing logos remain on the fuselage. Additionally, the airline had written ‘From Abu Dhabi for the World’ on the side. At the time of writing, the aircraft was operating a return leg from Milan.

Etihad, Boeing 787-10, ecoDemonstrator
The aircraft’s delivery flight used optimized flight paths and the highest permissible blend of sustainable aviation fuels. Photo: Etihad

Commenting on the aircraft, Etihad CEO Tony Douglas,

“As the first 787- 10 to take part in the ecoDemonstrator programme, this very special aircraft stands testament to the innovation and drive for sustainable aviation that forms a core element of Etihad’s values and long-term vision”

What was the ecoDemonstrator?

The Boeing ecoDemonstrator is the American manufacturer’s program of testing new technologies to improve its aircraft’s efficiency. Many aircraft have been used for the program, from a Boeing 737 to the mighty 777. However, Boeing typically uses a customer’s aircraft rather than one of its own.

Boeing, 787, ecoDemonstrator
The 787-10 ecoDemonstrator tested a way to reduce landing gear noise. Photo: Paul Weatherman via Boeing

In the case of the Etihad 787-10 ecoDemonstrator, one of the main focuses was on the noise produced by the aircraft. As such, 214 microphones were attached to the aircraft’s fuselage, with an array of over 1,000 more microphones laid out over a Montana runway.

One of the tests placed a particular focus on the noise generated by an aircraft’s landing gear. Bright orange fairings were placed on the landing gear, giving them an aerofoil shape. The aircraft was then flown low over the array of microphones.

Etihad, Boeing 787-10, ecoDemonstrator
Etihad is also testing environmental initiatives on its Greenliner Boeing 787-10. Photo: Etihad

While the flight data is yet to be revealed, onlookers said that they noticed a reduction in noise with the farings. This is a crucial finding if confirmed, as landing gear accounts for 30% of the noise generated by an aircraft coming into land.

Have you seen Etihad’s ecoDemonstrator on its travels? Let us know in the comments below.