Prototype 787 looking good as the first flight appears to be just around the corner
Boeing is finally getting a good grip on the 787 program, a firm enough grip in fact to lead us to believe that the Dreamliner actually stands a pretty good chance of a first-flight sometime in June. It'll sure be nice to start thinking that the airplane "flies like a dream" instead of just being one!
The 787 first tickled our toes as the 7E7 around 2003. The first designs that were taken seriously looked a lot like the one below. It was kinda 'sharky' and definitely somewhat unusual looking. It certainly attracted a ton of attention in those early days.
Seems that a lot of that 7E7 ‘coolness' might just have been marketing hype tho. The ‘E' was dropped around 2005 when the airplane became the 787. Along with the name change, the design had morphed over time to look a lot like most any other large twin-jet.
But that's not to say that it doesn't have some very unique features. One that really stands out for me is the nose shape. You get a little feel for the smooth, blended design of the cockpit glass in the pic above. The side profile is pretty much a continuous flowing curve rather than the more common design of having the glass interrupt a smooth nose shape.
You can find a lot more pix and some great coverage of the 787 program as it nears first-flight by checking out Jon Ostrower's FlightBlogger. If you haven't been following the Dreamliner closely, now is the time to start paying attention. Things are about to get very interesting!
And if you're a down on Boeing these days because of the delays, I ask you to show me the composite wide-body airliner that you've built! : )
The 'sharky shape' we saw in early 7E7 designs a few years back