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 of 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 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. The engine nacelles have serrated fan exhausts.

The nose of Boeing 787 is similar in shape as the Embraer 170/190 and A350, but has different cockpit windows.

The 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.

The engine nacelles of Boeing 787 have serrated fan exhausts.

Different versions

To differentiate between the 787 subtypes you'll have to look at

  • the length of the fuselage
  • the number of cabin windows between emergency exits

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.

The Boeing 787-8 is clearly the shortest of the three variants.

Boeing 787-9

Confusion possible with

Boeing 767

b767 300er

Look only quickly and you can easily confuse the Boeing 767 and Boeing 787. But there are significant differences: the Boeing 767 has six cockpit windows, no serrated fan exhausts, and no shark tail. Also typical for the 767 is that the main landing gear bogeys tilt forward when the aircraft is not on the ground.

Airbus A350

a350 1000

The Airbus A350 has is larger than the 787-8, but has a similar size as the 787-9 and -10, so you might mistake one for the other. However, the A350 has six cockpit windows, curved wing lets and no serrated fan exhaust. Additionally, the A350-1000 has six wheels on each main landing gear.

Boeing 777

b767 300er

The Boeing 777 has a wider fuselage than the 787, six cockpit windows, six wheels on each main landing gear and a flat tail cone. Moreover, the 777-8 and -9 have a shark fin tail like the 787.

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.

The Boeing 787-9 has more cabin windows than the 787-8.

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.

The Boeing 787-10, the longest Dreamliner version.