Boeing, KLM Launch Optimal Flight Program with Biofuel Flight

By Jesse Sokolow on 8 March 2013
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Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport

Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport

Boeing and KLM have launched a series of commercial flights that will demonstrate several advanced technologies meant to optimize operational efficiency, save fuel, and reduce both carbon and noise emissions.   The program, called “Optimal Flight,” consists of 26 flights, and will begin on March 8, 2013.

The technologies will have an impact on an aircraft’s preflight, takeoff, cruise, descent, and post-landing procedures.  The first flight to demonstrate the technologies will be a KLM Boeing 777-200 aircraft, which will fly roundtrip from Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport to New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport on March 8, 2013.

The flight will be powered in part by sustainable aviation biofuel, which comes from used cooking oil.  The flight will also feature new services that provide various advisories directly into the aircraft’s FMC (flight management computer), which are meant to increase real-time situational awareness of pilots using various features.

Among these is automation to integrate the dispatch and modified versions of the flight plan and performance into the FMC, which will make for less work for the flight crew and reduce errors by eliminating the need for repeated FMC entries.  There will also be procedures and software applications that will provide recommendations to the crew which will optimize the aircraft’s speed.  The application will also provide real-time weather advisories to the flight crew while in flight, which will ultimately save fuel and enable a more accurate arrival prediction.

If the series of tests is successful, Boeing and KLM will begin new operational procedures and recommendations for development programs with their partners.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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