October 18, 2023

Bombardier ramps up EcoJet flight tests

Jon Robinson

As part of a new stage of the EcoJet research project, Bombardier is flying an 18-foot-wide test vehicle designed as a blended wing body aircraft, with the goal of reducing business jet emissions by up to 50 per cent. (Photo: Bombardier)

Bombardier at NBAA-BACE 2023 provided an update of its EcoJet research project, outlining progress in its second test phase and unveiling new images of an 18-foot-wide demonstrator. The Montreal aircraft maker explains its EcoJet research project aims to reduce aircraft emissions by up to 50 per cent through a combination of aerodynamic, propulsion and other enhancements.

The research into EcoJet technologies began 15 years ago and the project has materialized into a family of Blended Wing Body (BWB) test vehicles for flights to develop and mature relevant technologies. Bombardier explains analysis of the data gathered from the 18-foot-wide prototype will allows its engineering team to perfect its knowledge of new aviation control laws that are adapted to the radically different BWB geometry, bound to be applied to more sustainable, future business aircraft.

“Our engineers are eager to start working with the results yielded by this second phase of the flight test program,” said Stephen McCullough, Senior Vice President of Engineering and Product Development, Bombardier. “Building on the significant data drawn from the initial flight-testing phase, and now leveraging a model twice as large as the first prototype, we can further refine our analysis. With each additional experimental stage, we are paving the way for more sustainable aircraft designs and new technologies.’’

Comprised of several free-flight campaigns, the flight-testing program involving the BWB designed vehicles will be held over multiple years to generate increasingly precise data in representative environments. The 18-foot-wide prototype of Bombardier’s EcoJet research project flew for the first time in 2022. Bombardier explains its Research and Technology team started testing real life feasibility of their theoretical work back in 2017 with the first prototype, which had a wingspan of approximately eight feet.

Also at NBAA-BACE 2023, Bombardier celebrated the September 2023 delivery of its 150th Global 7500 business jet to an undisclosed customer. The Global 7500 was entered into service in 2018.