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The Dream Tour airplane never lacks for visitors as it hop-scotches across the globe. However, its latest stop to the United States capitol of Washingto, DC was different from most.
ZA003 provided a beautiful backdrop at the Atlantic Innovation forum that was held on Tuesday at the Historic Terminal A at Reagan National Airport. The event hosted hundreds of business and technology leaders, including Boeing's CEO, Jim McNerney.
Throughout the day-long conference, those participants also had a chance to tour the Dreamliner, and they liked what they saw.
"I think it's fantastic," said Michael Jones, Chief Technology Advocate for Google. "I'm in the innovation business myself. I'm an engineer, and what I like about this is I see so much fresh thinking with common ideas in a new way... I admire that!"
Others agreed. "It has certainly exceeded expectations. It's got a luxury feel, beautifully appointed and it looks like it'll be very comfortable," raved Maureen Lewis, who works in the U.S. Department of Commerce. "I'm excited to think about the possibilities that it means for U.S. manufacturing, the resurgence of the airline industry."
During its DC visit, the Dreamliner also hosted numerous VVIP tours that included congressmen and an array of foreign ambassadors. However, the crowning moment of this stop was when ZA003 played dual roles as both backdrop and centerpiece at a formal celebration where it received the 2011 Robert J. Collier trophy for its role as the year's greatest aeronautic achievement in America.
As Jonathan Gaffney, the President and CEO of the National Aeronautic Association explained, "The 787 has pushed the envelope forward in aircraft design in ways that have only been dreamed about in both an aerospace engineer's mind and an airline passenger's itinerary."
When Jim McNerney took the stage, he thanked the Boeing employees who brought the airplane to life. He said, "Our people and our partners always had faith that the innovation they were driving and difficulties they were encountering would be worth the effort. The incredible and beautiful flying machine behind me stands as a testament to them." Jim Albaugh, BCA President and CEO, went a step further when he called dozens of 787 employees to the front of the stage to be recognized. "There are no shortcuts to any place worth going to, and I'll tell you what, there were no shortcuts in this program," he said. "There was never any compromise on doing the right thing. It was about quality, it was about safety, it was about functional excellence, and it was about personal accountability."
To see more from the Dream Tour, visit http://www.newairplane.com/787/dreamtour/.