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14 Facts About The Boeing 787 Dreamliner

It faced delays early on, but now, it's a pretty cool airplane.

1) The 787 is the first airliner to use composites as the primary material for its airframe.

Jetstar Airways

2) The aircraft can be operated with GE GEnx engines or Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engines, making is 20 percent more fuel efficient than the 767. These engines use all-electrical bleedless systems, which eliminates the need for superheated air conduits normally used for air conditioning, anti-icing, and other functions.


3) During its design, the 787 completed an ultimate wing load test, requiring the wings of a fully assembled aircraft be loaded to 150% of design limit load and held for 3 seconds. The wings flexed nearly 25 feet up during the test.

4) The flight deck has dual HUD screens, wide PDF/MFD displays, and looks little a bit like a spaceship.


5) The 787 initially had several battery problems, including multiple on-board fires from its lithium-ion batteries. The airplane was temporarily grounded, but eventually, the problems were fixed.


6) The 787's total on-board electrical power is 1.45 megawatts. That's 5 times more power than conventional airliners.

John Pozadzides

7) Engine start, pressurization, horizontal stabilizer trim, and wheel brakes are all electrically driven. Most other airliners use pneumatic or hydraulic systems to power these components.

Luke Lai

8) Wing ice protection is another unique system on the 787. It uses electro-thermal heaters on the wing slats instead of traditional hot bleed air.

El Scrapeo

9) The longest-range 787 variant can fly up to 8,500 nautical miles, enough range to cover New York City to Hong Kong or Los Angeles to Bangkok.


10) The 787 is 80% composite by volume.

11) An active gust alleviation system, similar to the system used on the B-2 bomber, improves ride quality during turbulence. Sensors measure turbulence at the nose of the plane, and then adjust the flight control surfaces to help smooth it out.

Ken Mist

12) The 787 was the first airliner to use a one-piece composite barrel fuselage, as opposed to multiple sheets of metal riveted together.

Canadian Pacific

13) Instead of plastic window shades, the cabin windows use electrochromism-based smart glass, with different tint settings.

Dory Younes

14) And, the 787 can takeoff like this:


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Colin Cutler

Colin is a Boldmethod co-founder, pilot and graphic artist. He's been a flight instructor at the University of North Dakota, an airline pilot on the CRJ-200, and has directed development of numerous commercial and military training systems. You can reach him at

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