Since Kenya Airways’ first Boeing 787 Dreamliner jetted into the country a few days ago, there has been a lot of excited talk in the public domain about the new plane. Yet the Boeing is not that new. About 2 years ago Japanese airline, ANA, put in an order for 55 aircraft, becoming the first customer for the high-tech jet-liner whose release to the market was plagued by delays that lasted 3 years. But what really makes the Boeing 787 so special?
It Can Run a Marathon
Like our famous long-distance runners, the 787-8 Dreamliner can carry 242 passengers up to 7,850 nautical miles (14,500 KM). The longer 787-9 Dreamliner will carry 280 passengers up to 8,185 nautical miles (15,200 KM) while the newest of them all, the 787-10, launched in June 2013, will extend and complement the family, carrying 323 passengers up to 7,000 nautical miles (12,000 KM), or more than 90% of the world’s twin-aisle routes.
More Fuel Efficiency, More Space
In addition to bringing big-jet ranges to mid-size air planes, the Boeing 787 Dreamliner family provides airlines with unmatched fuel efficiency, resulting in exceptional environmental performance. The airplane uses 20% less fuel than today’s similarly sized air planes. Airlines also realise more cargo revenue capacity – a 20 to 45% advantage over similarly sized air planes. Boeing promises the 787 will have more space for passengers to move about in the cabin.
At the heart of the 787 design is a modern systems architecture that is simpler, more functional and more efficient than that of other air planes. For example, on-board health-monitoring systems allow the air plane to self-monitor and report systems maintenance requirements to ground-based computer systems. Is this the end of air plane accidents?
Less Noisy, More Environment Friendly
It is 60% less noisy than other planes of its size and capability. A quieter air-conditioning system and vibration isolation in its side-walls and interior materials means it is less squeaky. The new fuselage is made of lightweight composite materials that allow it to use less fuel than other models. It also emits less nitrogen dioxide.
Measuring 48 CM high and 28 CM wide, Dreamliner windows are more than 30% larger than those on most similarly sized air planes. But the most revolutionary feature about the windows, however, is that they are no longer made of plastic as the tradition has been in aircraft engineering.
Instead of pulling shades up and down, passengers will adjust the brightness of windows with a button. Using an electrochromic dimming system, passengers can turn windows from fully transparent to completely dimmed.
Like most Boeing aircraft, the 787 is fitted with High Efficiency Particulate Air filters to remove bacteria, viruses and fungi. Dreamliners are also fitted with gas filters that remove odours, ensuring the plane is fresh throughout the trip.
Goodbye Air Sickness
While most similar aircraft have cabins pressurised at 8,000 feet, the 787’s cabin is pressurised at an altitude of 6,000 feet. Boeing says that lower cabin altitude will enable passengers’ bodies to absorb more oxygen, making them less susceptible to air sickness. The 787 also has a turbulence detection system that changes wing control surfaces to counteract the effects of turbulence which means less motion sickness.
The new Boeing 787 Dreamliner spots some really fancy LED mood lighting that changes through a spectrum of lighting designed to simulate a full flying day and keep those on longer flights engaged and occupied. Lighting schemes include lavender light when fliers need to relax, and warm, orange-tinted light during meal service.
With a plane like this, who would ever be aerophobic and who would want to use connecting flights when you can fly direct and feel as if you just took a walk in the park!