When you have used the toilet during a flight, have you ever thought about the small electrical motors that are involved? Nowadays, in modern aircraft, you find hundreds of electrical motors which work as little helpers somewhere in the background where you can’t see or hear them. Our DC or brushless DC motors and gearheads are used in applications like valves, air conditioning systems, seat actuators or even in the cockpit to lock the side-stick or to adjust the throttle position automatically when the autopilot takes control.
It is absolute mandatory, even if the motors are not used in flight critical applications, that they have to do a flawless job. Another important aspect is the efficiency of drive systems in planes. Energy is always limited and less power consumption means thinner cables and therefore less weight. (According to some sources, each kilogram cut means a saving of roughly $1 Mio in costs over the lifetime of an aircraft.)
By the way, did you know that the humidity in a plane is only 4 per cent (to eliminate the risk of corrosion)? But in the B787, because of the use of the composite fuselage, it is 15 per cent which makes your flight much more comfortable.
Enjoy your next flight!