NASA Aeronautics News Conference

Remarks by David F. Melcher, President & CEO Aerospace Industries Association

Administrator Bolden, Associate Administrator Shin, thank you for the opportunity to be here today and good afternoon ladies and gentlemen.  As the representative of the Aerospace Industries Association, founded in 1919 by aviation pioneers Orville Wright and Glenn Curtiss, I’m delighted to join you in applauding NASA’s new ten year plan to significantly boost national investments in cutting edge aeronautics research.  As the Administrator just said, this is a big deal!

Make no mistake about it.  When it comes to examples of public investments that set the gold standard for performance and public benefit, NASA’s aeronautics research tops the list.

It makes tremendous sense to continue making smart strategic investments through NASA in aviation safety and mobility, energy efficiency and advanced propulsion system transformation.  This budget and the actions NASA will take in support of it will make our country better.  We have a tremendous aviation infrastructure today, but demand for aviation services continues to grow.  One estimate out there states there will be a near doubling of air passengers between now and 2034, from 3.2 billion passengers to 7 billion worldwide.  We need to use NASA, as we have throughout the first century of flight and beyond, not only to push the envelope, but also to keep American industry at the forefront of aeronautics technology development.

Indeed, throughout NASA’s history, and that of its predecessor organization founded 101 years ago—the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics—the government has performed a vital role in advancing progress on complex aeronautics issues.  Issues such as wind shear, icing, adding electronic controls to cockpits, and bringing unmanned aircraft systems into the airspace.  You name it, NASA was and is at the forefront of thinking of better ways to conquer the most problematic issues of flight.

This research, done with active support and financial commitment from industry, has benefitted the entire aviation community and the flying public, all the people we see nearby us getting ready to board their flights here at Reagan National today.

Through NASA’s exciting “New Aviation Horizons,” initiative, the agency that pioneered hypersonic flight will help us aim at revolutionary, not evolutionary, changes in the way that people fly around the world.  One of our association’s great member companies, Boeing, has a terrific advertisement playing in its centennial year that envisions passengers in the year 2116 circumnavigating the globe in two hours.  With a strong commitment to this research going forward, I think it’s only a question of how soon, rather than if, this bold vision will be achieved. I would also add my congratulations to Lockheed Martin and GE Aviation for the contract announcement unveiled in the Administrator’s remarks, to do all this with less sonic booms!

NASA’s 10-year American Aviation Plan will build upon the great work Administrator Bolden and Associate Administrator Shin have done in focusing the agency’s research on projects that ensure we maintain U.S. aerospace leadership and will create new opportunities in aviation. Rest assured, our aircraft manufacturers understand and will support these research thrusts, thus giving them additional momentum.

In closing, I’d like to point out the larger purpose for which we gather.  Budgets are the fine print of our daily lives that turn the dreams of a better world tomorrow into reality.  Our shared dream is to help create a world that is more prosperous and peaceful, where people-to-people interchange across continents is more common place.  And this fine print, once put into operation in the skies above, will help get us there.  Mr. Administrator, thank you again for the tremendous opportunity to be here today to add industry’s support to this visionary effort.