"Certifying Innovation"
Michael Huerta, Reagan Washington National Airport
May 7, 2012

Boeing 787 Dreamliner Tour

Thank you, Mark (Hooper) for that kind introduction.  It’s great to be here to celebrate the Dreamliner’s arrival in Washington, D.C.

The Boeing 787 Dreamliner is an incredible technological achievement—one that sets a new standard for innovation on many levels. 

The 787 is the world’s first major airliner to make such extensive use of composite materials – more than 50 percent by weight.  This technology results in an airplane that will fly as fast as today’s speediest wide body aircraft, while using 20 percent less fuel than airplanes of similar size. 

The use of composite materials, engine technology advancements, and changes in systems architecture will also reduce noise. 

And here’s another important advance: the 787 Dreamliner was designed to incorporate many of the capabilities that are foundational to our Next Generation Air Transportation System. 

NextGen is the fundamental transformation of our entire system, and the 787 is designed to incorporate these new capabilities. The aircraft can provide:  greater situational awareness; greater capability to support Data Comm versus radio transmissions; and precise GPS navigational capabilities. 

I’d like to recognize the work by Boeing and the FAA’s Aircraft Certification Service team. They worked together collaboratively to certify the airplane, ensuring the safety of this great, innovative project.

At the outset of this program, the FAA and Boeing developed a new way of working together.  Rather than waitingfor issues to arise, we worked proactively to identify certification issues expected to arise from some of the 787’s novel design features. 

With this high level of technological innovation, it was not possible to anticipate everything.  But, we had a plan for working issues to a resolution that would ensure the result we always want:  a safe and compliant aircraft. 

And the result truly is momentous – not just for Boeing and the FAA, but also for the economy, and for the global aviation system. 

I want to say how very proud I am of the FAA’s role in bringing this aircraft to certification.

The FAA logged 200,000 hours of technical work on the 787 type certification.  Our crews flew on many test flights. And our Transport Airplane Directorate developed 15 special conditions – essentially new design regulations to address innovations that existing rules don’t fully cover. 

So, congratulations to Boeing, to the FAA team, and to every person and organization that had a role in the creation of this innovative aircraft. 

Thank you very much.