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Making Boeing's 787 Dreamliners (photos)

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

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Daniel Terdiman

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Forward fuselage

EVERETT, Washington--On Monday, three years later than originally planned, Boeing will deliver the first of its much-anticipated 787 Dreamliners to its launch customer, All Nippon Airways (ANA). On Sunday, the manufacturer invited a group of media representatives on a tour of the Dreamliner factory floor.

This is a forward fuselage section of a Dreamliner that's currently at the end of the assembly line, where four of the planes are always under production.

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Inside wing center section

Boeing employees work at installing systems inside the wing center section of a 787 Dreamliner at the aircraft maker's giant assembly plant in Everett, Washington.
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Wing center section

This is a view of the wing center section--one of three major fuselage sections--of the 787 Dreamliner.
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Tail cone and aft fuselage

These are the tail cone and aft fuselage sections of a 787 Dreamliner, as seen on the factory floor of Boeing's assembly plant in Everett, Washington.
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Horizontal stabilizer

This is a 787 Dreamliner's horizontal stabilizer, awaiting assembly in what is known as "position zero," where major sections of the plane are brought into the giant factory. The major elements of the plane are joined at position one, and planes are finished when they reach position four.
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Wing at the ready

A Dreamliner wing is laid out alongside the assembly line.
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Wing join area

The wings are joined to the fuselage from this end.
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Looking down the wing

Here, we look down a Dreamliner wing inside the Boeing assembly plant in Everett, Washington.
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Inside tail cone

Here, we see the inside of a Dreamliner tail cone section after the section--and the other major components--have been joined together.
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Wing tip

This is the wing tip of a Boeing 787 Dreamliner.
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Air India

This is a 787 Dreamliner that will belong to Air India. It is seen at position four, meaning it's nearly finished.
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Dreamliners from gallery

There are always 4 Dreamliners being worked on at any given time. The assembly line is designed to handle up to 10 Dreamliners a month, but at the moment, Boeing is only turning out about 2 a month. Soon, that number will ramp up to 7.
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Landing gear

This is a Dreamliner's landing gear, sitting on the factory floor in Everett.
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Tail under construction

Here we see a Dreamliner tail at position one, meaning the plane has only recently had its major sections joined together.
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777--no, 787

This moving stairway used to belong to Boeing's 777 line, but has been repurposed for the 787 line.
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Position four

This is the Air India Dreamliner, located at position four, where all its major components, including its engines, have already been added.
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Line of wings

Here we see the wings of each of four Dreamliners that are currently on the assembly line.
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Front from visitor's gallery

This is the front of a Dreamliner in position four, as seen from above.
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Dreamliner No. 1

This is the first Dreamliner that Boeing is delivering to ANA. On Monday, Boeing and ANA will host a celebration of the hand-over.
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Engine weight

Before the plane's engines are mounted, it is necessary to hang this 17,000 pound weight from the wings in order to flex the wings, which allows for workers to install the doors and windows. The wing flexing slightly curves the fuselage, which is required to install the doors and wings.
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Engine weight

A close-up of the engine weight that hangs from the engine mount of a 787 Dreamliner on the assembly line at Boeing's giant plant in Everett, Washington.
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Nose cone raised

Here we see the nose cone raised on a Dreamliner that's under construction on the assembly line.
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World's largest building

In this picture, we see a 787 Dreamliner at the end of the front of Boeing's assembly plant in Everett, Washington. The building is the world's largest by volume.
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Under wing

Here we see a view of the underside of a Dreamliner's wings while the plane is under construction.
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United and wing tip

This is the wing tip of United Airlines' first 787 Dreamliner, which is currently in position three on the assembly line.

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