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Boeing 787 Dreamliner: T minus 1 day to handoff

The aviation giant first rolled out its composite airliner more than four years ago, and it's three years behind schedule. But on Monday, Boeing expects to finally hand over its first Dreamliner to launch customer All Nippon Airways.

On December 15, 2009, the first 787 Dreamliner took to the air for the first time. Nearly two years later, Boeing is finally handing over the first of the planes to its launch customer, ANA. Daniel Terdiman/CNET

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

First unveiled before thousands of employees, press, and fans on July 8, 2007 (07/08/07), 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 on Monday, 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. Skeptics 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.

Regardless, 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 Monday for coverage of the hand-over ceremonies.