Boeing, KLM working on flight optimization options
March 13, 2013, Chicago, Ill. - Boeing and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines have started a series of test flights that will demonstrate the role of advanced technologies, fuels and concepts in improving operational efficiency, saving fuel and reducing carbon and noise emissions.
Boeing stated that the technology demonstration features all aspects of an aircraft flight including preflight, takeoff, cruise, descent and post-landing.
Some 26 flights are planned for a programme known as 'Optimal Flight' that will continue until 2013.
Boeing Digital Aviation airspace programs director Mike Caflisch said: "This demonstration programme will help us determine where next to focus our research and development to deliver improvements to air traffic management and airline services for our customers."
As a part of the program, the first flight was held on 8 March using a KLM Boeing 777-200 airplane, flying a round trip from Amsterdam Airport Schiphol to John F Kennedy International Airport in New York.
The flights are being powered by sustainable aviation biofuel sourced from used cooking oil, in line with the industry's efforts to develop and commercialize renewable fuel sources that do not compete with food, water or land resources.
The flights also feature new services developed by Boeing Research and Technology, which provide various data into the aircraft flight management computer (FMC) and mobile device in the flight deck.
Using advanced digital aviation and air traffic management concepts, these flight services highlight applications that improve real-time situational awareness for air crew.
The applications include automation to combine the dispatch and revamped versions of the flight plan and performance data into the FMC; procedures and software applications that provide the pilots with suggestions to optimize the aircraft speed variance while providing real-time weather information.
If the program is successful, Boeing and KLM will set up new operational guidelines for follow-on development programmes with the partners, including NLR, TU Delft (Delft University of Technology), John F Kennedy
International Airport, Gander, Shanwick, NATS Domestic and Schiphol Group.
In addition, there is also a R&D through a joint agreement between Boeing, KLM, Amsterdam Airport Schiphol and Air Traffic Control in the Netherlands. This move is an extension of an agreement signed in 2002 to develop solutions for the sustained growth of Dutch aviation.