WASHINGTON -- Boeing's (NYSE: BA) 787 Dreamliner has won the 2011 Robert J. Collier Trophy, one of the aerospace industry's most prestigious honors for excellence. The award places the ultra fuel-efficient Dreamliner in an exclusive group of pioneers that revolutionized air travel.
"We were very pleased with this year's slate of nominations - all of them were impressive, inspirational, and innovative and certainly represent the future of aviation and aerospace," said Walter Boyne, Chairman of the National Aeronautic Association and Chairman of the Selection Committee. "We congratulate Boeing on their great accomplishment with the 787."
The NAA awards the prize to the air or space vehicle that represents the greatest aeronautic achievement in America, the value of which was demonstrated by actual use during the previous year.
The 787 Dreamliner, the first mid-size commercial airplane capable of flying long-range routes, completed a rigorous flight testing effort to earn certification in 2011. The 787 was then delivered to ANA of Japan and put into service on daily routes. The Dreamliner wrapped up 2011 by setting two world records in its class, one for speed and one for distance.
"It's not often in a career that we have the chance to make history – to do something big and bold that will change the world in untold ways and endure long after we are gone," said Jim Albaugh, president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes. "The men and women of Boeing, working with our partners around the world, poured their hearts into designing, building and delivering the 787 Dreamliner. It was a long and sometimes difficult journey. We're deeply honored to receive this award."
The Collier Trophy, first awarded in 1911, was designed to encourage innovation in aerospace by emphasizing improved performance, efficiency and safety. Past winners include Orville Wright; the Neil Armstrong and Apollo 11 Moon mission team; Boeing for several airplanes, including the 747 and the 777; Boeing and partners for the F/A-18E/F, the International Space Station; and Bell Boeing for the V-22 Osprey Tiltrotor.
Built largely with lightweight composite materials, combined with a host of breakthrough technologies, the 787 Dreamliner is 20 percent more fuel efficient than similarly-sized airplanes, allowing airlines to open new, non-stop routes preferred by the traveling public. The airplane is also much easier for airlines to maintain and sets new standards in environmental performance. 60 customers have ordered 868 Dreamliners, making it the fastest-selling widebody airplane in commercial aviation history.