Bombardier advances to second prototype of its blended-wing Ecojet

The project has set a target to reduce emissions by up to 50 percent.
Jijo Malayil
Bombardier's EcoJet
Bombardier's EcoJet


In a significant step forward for sustainable aviation, Bombardier, the renowned Canadian aerospace manufacturer, has announced the development of the second prototype of its revolutionary blended-wing body (BWB) Ecojet. The sector is witnessing increasing activity, with multiple firms like JetZero, Airbus, and Natilus vying to get their BWB designs into production. A paradigm shift towards such an architecture will redefine the future of commercial aviation with an environmentally friendly aircraft that offered enhanced fuel efficiency and reduced carbon emissions.

Over seven years, Bombardier could successfully finish its first phase of testing with a scale model of Ecojet, measuring just 7 percent of a large business jet. "Bombardier is now building on the significant knowledge acquired to engage in a second phase of testing with a model twice as large, and which completed its first flight last year to pave the way for this next test campaign," said a statement from the firm. 

Advantages of BWB design in aviation

The BWB idea has been around since the late 1980s, but it has not taken off despite the design offering encouraging results. After decades, circumstances are in its favor as the aviation sector searches for more environmentally friendly solutions to accelerate efforts to achieve net-zero targets. 

Regarding the advantages of BWB aircraft, as the design combines the airframe structure and aerodynamics, it allows the aircraft to shed weight and drag while using the fuselage to generate the necessary lift. The airframe helps to cut fuel burn and emissions in half, offering an ideal solution to promote sustainable aviation. 

Furthermore, as the engines are positioned on top, the arrangement enables such aircraft to be tailless and has substantially quieter cabins. The BWB design also provides a way to get around the tube-and-wing aircraft's room limitations thanks to a novel cabin arrangement that gives wider passageways and more significant storage space, 

A blended wing-fuselage design also provides plenty of room to store hydrogen, which is widely considered vital in transitioning the aviation sector to achieve its net-zero goals. 

Encouraging results with its first phase

The initial flight test campaign and design optimization loops produced very encouraging results, according to the Bombardier team. These include implementing a sixth-generation transonic wing modeling capability, validating a new aircraft control architecture, and deploying a next-generation Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) platform. 

Bombardier says the project has set a target to reduce emissions by up to 50 percent through aerodynamic and propulsion enhancements. With its Ecojet initiative, Bombardier aims to "develop and mature powerful technologies to leverage in future projects, as part of its firm commitment to a sustainable future for business aviation."

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