Boeing is partnering with American Airlines to conduct the 737-800 based ecoDemonstrator program.

The effort will see a standard 737 production aircraft modified with an adaptive trailing edge, a variable area fan nozzle and regenerative fuel cell technology. The aircraft will retain its American colors for the six-week flight test effort, the trailing edge element of which forms part of the FAA’s continuous lower energy emissions noise (Cleen) program.

The demonstrator, which will fly in the third quarter of 2012, will also evaluate software to enable flight trajectory optimization for in-flight planning. This will enable the use of more fuel-efficient routes as well as discretionary changes enroute for weather and other factors.

Technology evaluated on the ecoDemonstrator is aimed at proving advances that could feature on the New Small Airplane as well as a further upgrade of the current 737.

American became involved in the effort as a follow-on to its on-going Fuel Smart effort. Over the past five years since the initiative began, American estimates it has saved 500 million gallons of fuel through energy-saving initiatives.