The 787 Dreamliner is different to most commercial aircraft flying the skies today. On the surface it may seem pretty similar to the likes of the 777 and A350, but get under the skin and it’s a whole different aircraft.
When Boeing designed the 787, in order to make it as fuel efficient as possible, it had to completely shake up the way some of the normal aircraft systems operated. Traditionally, systems such as the pressurisation, engine start and wing anti-ice were powered by pneumatics. The wheel brakes were powered by the hydraulics. These essential systems required a lot of physical architecture and with that comes weight and maintenance. This got engineers thinking.
What if the brakes didn’t need the hydraulics? What if the engines could be started without the pneumatic system? What if the pressurisation system didn’t need bleed air from the engines? Imagine if all these systems could be powered electrically… so that’s what they did.