Pratt & Whitney Partners with NASA to Create Green Future for Aviation

IASA: Nachhaltige Luftfahrt - Sustainable Aviation

Working on engines producing up to 75% fewer emissions

East Hartford, CT, February 23, 2017:  Pratt & Whitney has been chosen by NASA’s Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate to be a part of NASA’s Ultra-High Bypass Advanced Nacelle Technologies Flight Demonstration. The goal of the partnership is to develop engines for commercial airliners that produce less pollution and are more fuel-efficient.
This is not the first time that Pratt & Whitney has worked with NASA to advance green engine technologies. The two organizations partnered a number of times during the 1990s and 2000s, and together, they have made significant advancements in fuel-efficient technologies. A project in the 1990s through NASA’s Advanced Subsonic Technology program led to the development of base technology for fuel-efficient fans. Another partnership in 2005 through the Space Act Agreement gave Pratt & Whitney access to NASA expertise and facilities for engine testing.
The most notable result of the P&W-NASA partnership is the development of technology for the PurePower® Geared Turbofan™ (GTF) family of engines. The GTF engine improves efficiency by over 16 percent and increases fuel savings while dramatically reducing noiseby 50 percent, a profound advancement for the aeronautics industry. The success of the partnership between the two organizations, particularly the development of technology for the GTF, has created even more opportunities for collaboration.
Pratt & Whitney is currently working with NASA on the ‘New Aviation Horizons’ initiative, through which a new generation of revolutionary “X-planes” featuring advanced technologies will be designed, built and tested over a 10-year period.
Pratt & Whitney engines are included on four out of five of the experimental aircraft designs. According to NASA, the project aims “to develop aircraft that use 50 percent less fuel, produce 75 percent fewer emissions, and are notably more quiet than today’s vehicles.” Pratt & Whitney is making large contributions to this initiative that aims to have futuristic aircrafts in the sky as soon as the 2020s.
With the new three-year Ultra-High Bypass Advanced Nacelle Technologies partnership, Pratt & Whitney, UTC Aerospace Systems and Boeing will look to build on the innovations of the past, and develop the physics for a new generation of GTF engines that will be even more efficient and quiet. With technologies based on the learning developed through this partnership, the goal is to improve efficiency by another 10 percent above the 16 percent efficiency improvement from the first generation GTF engines. 
“The goal is to build on the legacy of our partnership with NASA to work on improving our geared turbofan engine technologies,” said Michael Winter, senior fellow, Advanced Technologies, Pratt & Whitney. “Our work with NASA will help us extend the technology and move deeper into the design space.”
This partnership will likely have a large impact on the future of our world. With new advancements from this partnership, we may see the environmental cost of air transport reduced as a result of increased fuel savings, or home and business owners near airports no longer negatively affected by the constant roar of airplanes overhead.
“This partnership is not only good for our business, but for the planet,” Winter said. “Our ability to technically differentiate our products while also doing good for our world defines the legacy we leave. As engineers, what more could we hope for?” 
Source: Pratt & Whitney

NASA: Prototype Air Traffic Tool Ready for Airborne Workout

sustainable aviation

New sustainable ‘Flight Deck Interval Management’ system to save fuel, flight time and money

 

Seattle, February 2, 2017: In a series of flights called Air Traffic Management Technology Demonstration-1  (ATD-1), NASA’s Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate is testing airborne flight deck interval management software with the help of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and leading aviation partners.

The month-long campaign involves three planes: a Boeing 757 and a business jet – either a Dassault Falcon 900 or an Embraer 170 – supplied by Honeywell, and a Boeing 737 provided by United Airlines. The aircraft are based at King County International and Seattle-Tacoma International Airports in Seattle, but the flight test will take place about 120 miles east, over Grant County International Airport.

After years of research and laboratory work, a full airborne demonstration of new technology and procedures aimed at improving air traffic flow into busy airports is on schedule to take off this month over Washington State.

The system is called Flight Deck Interval Management, or FIM, and its key benefit is that it will help air traffic controllers and pilots more precisely manage and safely shorten the time, or interval, between airplanes landing on a runway.

“All the pilots that are going to be flying the FIM operations have gone through the training modules and simulations. The equipment is all set and we’re ready to go,” said Sheri Brown, ATD-1 project manager at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Virginia.

The research is intended to help airplanes spend less time in the air, save money on fuel, and reduce engine emissions – all the while improving schedule efficiency to help passengers arrive at their destination on time and avoid missing connecting flights.

FIM is the final piece of a suite of aircraft arrival technology developed under the ATD-1-program. Two other NASA-developed technologies from ATD-1 – Traffic Management Advisor with Terminal Metering and Controller Managed Spacing – together were already  delivered to the FAA in 2014 as a single tool known as Terminal Sequencing and Spacing (TSAS).

Information provided to air traffic controllers from TSAS will be combined with NASA-developed software that is at the heart of FIM. The result is guidance that directs pilots to fly at a certain speed and maintain a more precise spacing with an aircraft flying ahead of them all the way down to the runway.

“It’s a very simple ‘follow the leader’ operation that is easy to execute by the flight crew,” Sheri Brown said. During the course of the flight tests, researchers hope to complete some 80 runs involving three major flight scenarios:

  • flying at a cruise altitude of 35,000 feet,
  • descending from cruise altitude all the way down to the airport, and
  • making a final approach beginning about 15 minutes before touchdown.

The plan is to fly about five-and-a-half hours each weekday, testing up to five test scenarios during each daily sortie. The Honeywell 757 and United 737 will be equipped with the FIM system in its cockpits, where its pilots will “follow the leader” during test runs behind the Honeywell business jet, which will provide its speed and position information to the other aircraft.

sustainable aviation

(l to r) Jason McMahon, Helmuth Eggeling and Scott Nyberg — lead test pilots from Honeywell Aerospace’s Flight Ops engineering organization – take part in final checkouts of the ATD-1 technologies and flight plans.
Credits: NASA / David C. Bowman

If all goes well with the demonstration, the entire FIM system – including software and hardware – will be turned over to the FAA by the fall of 2017, where the FAA will continue to evaluate and test it before making a decision to certify its use.

Source: NASA Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate / Jim Banke, Lillian Gipson

Vanilla Aircraft Claims World Record with 56-hour Flight

IASA: Nachhaltige Luftfahrt - Sustainable Aviation

Multispectral imaging payload as a demonstration of Earth science and agricultural remote sensing

 
Falls Church, VA, January 3, 2017:  Vanilla Aircraft today announced that on December 2, their VA001 unmanned aircraft system (UAS) completed a non-stop, unrefueled 56-hour flight. The flight was submitted for a world duration record for combustion-powered unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in the 50-500 kg subclass (Fédération Aéronautique Internationale, FAI, Class U-1.c, Group 1). A representative from the National Aeronautic Association was present to witness the record.
The flight, planned as a 120-hour mission, was ended early due to forecasted severe icing and range restrictions. However, the airplane landed with enough JP-8 fuel on board for an additional 90 hours of flying, or enough for a total of six days of flight.
The flight was supported by the technology innovation investments of the Department of U.S. Defense’s Rapid Reaction Technology Office (RRTO) and DARPA-funded efforts through Naval Air System Command (NAVAIR 4.11 – Patuxent River). Originating and ending at Las Cruces International Airport, the flight was conducted under the authority of the New Mexico State University UAS test site designated by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
“This effort represents tremendous and unprecedented coordination among civil, defense, academic, and private industry to bring a heretofore only imagined capability to reality,” said Vanilla Aircraft CEO Rear Adm. Timothy Heely (ret.).
The airplane carried 20 pounds of actual and simulated payload, flying at 6,500 to 7,500 feet above mean sea level (MSL), and was a further step for the VA001 towards demonstrating the system’s objective performance of carrying a 30-pound payload for 10 days at an altitude of 15,000 feet. The payload included a NAVAIR-provided relay and operated continuously throughout the flight to demonstrate functionality out to the maximum range. The airplane also carried a NASA-provided multispectral imaging payload as a demonstration of Earth science and agricultural remote sensing.
“The VA001 would be a cost-effective option for widespread and regular low-level surveying. We could fill a wide cost and payload-capability market gap between small electric and large military unmanned aircraft, which is perfect for many commercial applications,” says co-founder and program manager Jeremy Novara. Vanilla is currently exploring strategic partnerships and equity financing to expand into this market. 
Source: Vanilla Aircraft
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