Boeing's 787 Dreamliner in the making

A day before Boeing finally hands off the first of its long-anticipated jets to its launch partner, we got an up-close and personal look at the production line.

If you know anything about aeroplanes, you're no doubt aware of the long travails of one of the most anticipated planes of all time, Boeing's 787 Dreamliner.

First unveiled before thousands of employees, press and fans on 8 July 2007, the plane was supposed to begin carrying paying passengers by 2008. But after years of delays of all kinds, the Dreamliner has yet to achieve that milestone.

But soon, Boeing is expected to finally reach the top of the hill with the plane, and will host a large crowd eager to see the formal hand-over of the first Dreamliner to launch customer, All Nippon Airways. Sceptics will always wonder if the delays will hurt the plane's sales, or harm perceptions of it. But Boeing says the plane has sold well and that airlines are lining up to buy it.

Either way, aviation enthusiasts will have to applaud the plane's delivery on Monday — and questions will turn to whether a composite airframe really does what Boeing says it will — save money on fuel, and fly passengers on a plane that is designed to last 30 years or more while ushering in the age of composite fuselages.

On Sunday, CNET joined other members of the media on tours of both the 787 Dreamliner factory and the plane itself. Please come back tomorrow for coverage of the hand-over ceremonies.

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