Boeing will partner with FedEx for next phase of its ecoDemonstrator program starting in 2018.
A new Boeing 777 Freighter made for FedEx Express will serve as a flying test bed to test futuristic technologies that improve efficiency and reduce environmental impact of airliners.
The fifth iteration of the ecoDemonstrator program will test emerging technologies, such as propulsion advancements and flight deck innovations.
The testing will include installing a compact thrust reverser developed by Boeing designed to save fuel, flight deck improvements that can improve efficient operations in and out of busy airports, and flying prototype airplane parts using cutting-edge manufacturing techniques that reduce material waste.
The flight testing is scheduled to last approximately three months before the airplane returns to the FedEx fleet.
Since starting the ecoDemonstrator program in 2011, more than 60 technologies has been tested, using four aircraft, a Boeing 737 (2012), a Boeing 787 (2014), a Boeing 757 (2015) and a Embraer E170 (2016).
Some of the major technologies tested include laminar flow technology for winglets, active engine vibration control, blended biofuel, ceramic matrix composite engine nozzle, anti-icing wing coatings, touchscreen flight displays, non-stick wing coatings that reduce drag caused by bug guts.
In 2019, Boeing plans to test fly-by-wire control for auto-takeoff and auto-taxiing using a 787.