FAA-Industry Project Aims to Cut Fuel Usage
Alaska aircraft will perform tests to develop more efficient flight paths
6/24/2010 1:58:29 PM
Alaska Airlines is joining three other aviation companies and the Federal Aviation Administration to develop computer technologies that reduce fuel burn, emissions and noise. Alaska will perform test flights during the five-year $66 million project, funded by the FAA, in partnership with GE Aviation, Lockheed Martin and AirDat.
Test flights later this year will establish a baseline to measure commercial aircraft fuel use, emissions and noise using current flight and air traffic management technologies. Future test flights will measure improvements from GE Aviation development efforts aimed at spacing airliners by time rather than distance so they can routinely fly more efficient cruise and descent paths. The goal of the joint FAA-industry Continuous Lower Energy, Emissions and Noise (CLEEN) program is to develop technologies that airlines can begin using in 2015.
"As an industry leader in pioneering Next Generation technology like Required Navigation Performance, Alaska Airlines is proud to join an effort that will modernize our flight management systems and have the added benefits of reducing fuel burn, emissions and aircraft noise while also improving our on-time reliability," said Gary Beck, Alaska Airlines' vice president of flight operations.
GE will develop advanced flight management computer system functionality that will be installed on several of Alaska's Boeing 737s for the project. Work with Lockheed Martin will test integration between the flight management system and the FAA's ground-based air traffic control system at its en route centers. GE and AirDat will develop technology to provide improved weather information to reduce aircraft fuel consumption and emissions.
"Programs like this will help change the commercial aviation landscape toward significant improvements in our air traffic management system," said Lorraine Bolsinger, president and CEO of GE Aviation Systems. "GE's flight management system optimized descent product enables increased aircraft capacity along with a potential 5 to 15 percent fuel savings. Through work with our partners, we will be able to realize even greater savings."