A great shot of the 787 Dreamliner

The latest Boeing photo of the 787 Dreamliner does a nice job of showing the new jetliner's size and proportions. The 787-8 model is slightly smaller than a 777-200. Boeing execs have expressed confidence that the 787 will fly before the end of the year.

After running so many computer-generated images of fake airborne 787 Dreamliners, it's refreshing to see an expansive photograph of a real 787 Dreamliner. Of course, it was taken on the taxiway given we are still anxiously awaiting first flight which will probably happen just before Christmas.

The shot offers a couple of things. First, the proportions of 787-8 model become clearer as it dwarfs a worker standing astride the nose gear. In particular, the engines (Rolls Trent 1000, I presume) look enormous.

A wingspan of  197 feet makes the plane wider than it is long (186 feet). The 787 stands 56 feet tall. The 787-3's are slightly smaller while the 787-9s will be a little bigger.

Distinctive winglets on the planned 787-3

The untrained eye could mistake the 787-8 for a 777-200 which is the Boeing model that comes closest in size and appearance.  The 777-200 is 23 feet longer and four feet higher, but the 787-8 by comparison only gives up two feet of wingspan. The photo doesn't include much of the wings, but I like it anyway especially because an overstuffed 747 Dreamlifter that delivers 787 components to Boeing's Everett plant is lurks in the background.

Distinctive winglets will make the future 787-3 model unmistakable, though.

One more thought: half of what you're looking is is essentially plastic.

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This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com