Well, 787 fans and friends, today was one for the history books. I wouldn’t have missed what turned out to be a beautiful sunny day in Everett. With government officials to my left and company leaders to my right, customers in front of me and a sea of Boeing teammates behind me, I watched as FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt handed over two pieces of paper that literally open the door to our future. The Type Certificate and amended Production Certificate for the Dreamliner authorize us to begin delivering airplanes. Those pieces of paper show we’ve met a rigorous set of requirements and proven the 787 is safe and ready to enter revenue service.
The original Dreamliner made the perfect backdrop for today’s certification ceremony in Everett.
We’ve only certified a total of 11 all-new jetliners in the history of our company. It’s another in a series of events that make up the 787 chain of memories I reflect on every now and then.
Our authority to offer event in 2003 at the Washington State Convention Center certainly set a tone for us. It was clear that the level of interest in this program would be unlike anything we had ever experienced. And, it was clear that this would take the concerted efforts of supporters - from the local, state and federal government; from international suppliers; and from the incomparable Boeing team to turn this offering into a reality.
Flags with the logos of every Dreamliner customer were marched through the crowd at today’s event.
Just a few months later, we gathered again to celebrate the launch of the program. In an empty factory in Everett we shined flashlights to commemorate ANA’s historic order. I can’t say enough about what a terrific partner ANA has been to Boeing from that day to this. They’ve been bold leaders in our industry and our respect for them is immeasurable. Today that factory is a hive of activity - the site of 787 Final Assembly.
FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt (right) presented Capt. Mike Carriker, 787 chief pilot (center), and Mike Sinnett, 787 vice president and chief project engineer, with the U.S. Type Certificate.
The orders came slowly at first. Then, like a steady drum beat, we broke records. I vividly remember an early morning wake up call while I was traveling in Asia to tell me about the ANA order.
On July 8, 2007 (yes it was 7/8/07) we gathered again in Everett to celebrate the rollout of the 787. It was my daughter’s birthday, so we had a lot to celebrate that day. At no other time has the international appeal of this airplane been so tangible. From the video screens that showed live celebrations in Italy, Japan and South Carolina, to the colorful uniforms of our customers’ flight attendants, it was clear we had a global success on our hands.
Of course, nothing ever beats the emotion of first flight. Dec. 15, 2009, may have been a rainy day in Seattle but our spirits soared with Capt. Mike Carriker as he took ZA001 into the air, where it belonged. He said after landing that he wished he could have taken all of us with him. In some ways he did. We were all glued to our computers watching the progress of his flight and waiting for landing so we could cheer him on as he emerged from the airplane, arms raised in spontaneous celebration.
Scott Fancher, vice president and general manager of the 787 program, speaks to the crowd.
And now, we add another link to the chain. Certification brings to a close the most thorough, robust testing and validation effort ever conducted here at Boeing. That happens with every new airplane as we and the regulators constantly up the ante for requirements - that’s how we keep our standards high.
The great thing about this chain of memories is that it’s still just barely started. First delivery is just around the corner. We announced today that it will occur on September 26 and that we’ll use a host of digital tools to make sure everyone can share the excitement. And we still have lots of deliveries and milestones in the future.
The second 787 Dreamliner, ZA002, made a special fly-by to kick off the 787 certification event.
Thanks for coming along with me on this trip down memory lane and for being with us as we’ve worked our way through the 787 program. Scott Fancher always reminds the team that it’s not easy making history— and he’s right. It’s not easy, but it sure is fun!