Boeing took airline fuel efficiency to a new level with the 787 Dreamliner, and earned a Robert J. Collier Trophy for the effort.
The award, one of aviation’s most prestigious, has since 1911 recognized “the greatest achievement in aeronautics or astronautics in America.” It is given annually by the National Aeronautic Association.
Boeing displayed the Dreamliner at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh in 2011, drawing thousands of visitors with what was then the largest experimental aircraft on the field. Boeing increased fuel efficiency by 20 percent over the similar size 767, with far greater range. Fuel efficiency was a theme among 2011 nominees, which also included the human-powered Gamera helicopter, Pipistrel’s electric-powered Taurus G4, and the C-5M Super Galaxy.
"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, in a news release. "We congratulate Boeing on their great accomplishment with the 787."
The 787 was certified in 2011, and entered service flying daily routes for ANA of Japan. The Dreamliner set 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 in a news release. “We're deeply honored to receive this award."
Boeing has taken orders from 60 customers for 868 Dreamliners, making it the fastest-selling wide body aircraft in commercial aviation history, the company said. Boeing posted a video and special section of the company website to celebrate the award.