Boeing 787

The Boeing Dreamliner is a wide-body jet airliner that has a size similar to the Boeing 767 and 777, and the Airbus A330 and A350. Like the A350 it has a fuselage made off composites, mated to a long, slender metal wings. While the Dreamliner looks similar to the 767, 777 and A330/A350 it is still easily recognisable. Apart from the nose with only four cockpit windows instead of six on the others, the curved up wing (with raked wingtips) and the back end of the vertical tail slightly pointing up (shark tail) are distinctive characteristics. 

Nose of Boeing 787, similar in shape as the Embraer 170/190 and A350, but different with regard to cockpit windows.

Typical shark tail of Boeing 787, with the back end pointing up. The Boeing 777-8 and -9 also have this type of tail, but a different tail cone.

Engine nacelles of Boeing 787, with serrated fan exhaust.

Different versions

To differentiate between the 787 subtypes you have to look at

  • the length of the fuselage
  • the number of cabin windows between emergency exits
  • the main landing gear

Boeing 787-8

The Boeing 787-8 is the shortest of the three versions. There are only about ten cabin windows between the first two emergency exits in front of the wings.

Boeing 787-8

Boeing 787-9

The six metres extra fuselage length compared to the 787-8 is clearly visible, if not directly then certainly when seen side-by-side. Another way to differentiate both subtypes, count the cabin windows between the first two emergency exits: if this is about fifteen, then it is a 787-9.

Confusion possible with

Boeing 767

b767 300er

Look only quickly and you can easily confuse the Boeing 767 and Boeing 777; the 777 is just a blown up 767. But there are significant differences: the Boeing 767 has four wheels on each main landing gear leg, the 777 has six. Also the tail cone of the 767 is rounded, while that of the 777 is flat and square. 

Airbus A350

a350 1000

The Airbus A350 has a similar size as the Booing 777, so you might mistake one for the other. However, one look at the nose, wingtips or tailcone will be enough to quickly recognise either aircraft type correctly.

Boeing 787-9

Boeing 787-10

The Boeing 787-10 is another six metres longer than the -9. Also here the advise is to count the number of cabin windows between the first two main doors, if you don't immediately notice the length of the 787-10. If this number is about twenty, then it is a -10.

Boeing 787-10