The twin-aisle Dreamliner, with its cruise speed at Mach 0.85, is 20% more fuel efficient than other aircraft of similar size. For airplanes of such weight and load-bearing capabilities to use 20% less fuel is truly remarkable.
The increased fuel efficiency of the 787 comes from the reduced weight of the composite materials used in the plane’s construction, and results in an ability to fly longer distances without refueling. This feature is the primary concern for airline operators, who must plan around their plane’s ability to reach a target location. In fact, the first aspect an operator often focuses on is how fuel efficient an aircraft is, a criteria which reflects positively on the Dreamliner.
In addition to these features, the 787 also enjoys more cabin space, increased cargo volume and greater passenger comfort as a result of the use of composite materials. The key to this aircraft’s success is in the material used for its construction, its advanced engines from General Electric and Rolls-Royce and the design philosophy which incorporates modern aircraft systems for monitoring the aircraft operation.
Toray Industries. Toray’s Strategy for Carbon Fiber Composite Materials. (2008). Accessed February 13, 2012.
Boykoff, P. 7 Reasons the 787 Dreamliner is Special. (2011). CNN. Accessed February 13, 2012.
Decoding Science. One article at a time.