[Avionics Today 11-19-2015] Honda Aircraft President and CEO told reporters during a press conference at the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) 2015 convention and exhibition that he expects functionality and reliability certification testing to be completed this week. The-long anticipated HondaJet is expected to achieve FAA certification and first deliveries by the end of the year.
Honda originally launched the HA-420 business jet in 2003, however it has been delayed several times due to issues with the engine. However, the five-passenger jet is now heading toward the final stages with FAA pilots currently flight testing the aircraft.
"Our company is really preparing for entry into service," said Fujino, adding that the first HondaJet deliveries will occur in December.
Part 23 certification flight testing was originally completed in October, and the flight testing program has now surpassed 3,000 total flight hours. Fujino said the company has concluded its function-and-reliability testing, which simulates typical, in-service flight operations. Those tests include takeoffs, landings and other key operations in hot, cold, and humid conditions. Earlier this year, Fujino noted that certification was Honda’s biggest hurdle preventing entry into the market, stating that “aviation certification is a very complex process, which is why it is so difficult to enter the market.”
Honda's new business jet. Photo: Woodrow Bellamy III
The aircraft seats five passengers and features the Garmin G3000 avionics suite with three 14-inch high-resolution displays. HondaJet is powered by Honda GE HF120 engines and features a 420 knot maximum cruise speed with a range of 1,180 nautical miles.
Once the full type certification is achieved, Honda will plan to go to a production rate of three to four aircraft per month by 2016. There are currently 25 HondaJets on the production line at the company's Greensboro, North Carolina factory. The factory is also ready to begin pilot truing on the aircraft. Honda is using the first five production aircraft for customer flight demonstrations.
According to Fujino, Honda has obtained orders for more than 100 aircraft, although there was no confirmation of exactly how many business jet orders the company has received. Honda has also repeatedly stated that it has obtained orders for more than 100 HondaJets over the past several years.
Currently, the main regional focus for Honda Aircraft is the United States, which has been confirmed as the world's largest market for business jet orders. Embraer, a direct competitor to Honda Aircraft in the business aviation market, released its 10-year outlook at the NBAA show this week projecting global demand for 9,100 new business jets worth $198 billion.
Outside of the United States, Fujino said Honda is currently evaluating the possibility of expanding to open new dealerships in Asia or India. During the press conference, Fujino also hinted at the possibility of developing a larger scale aircraft. "I like family," Fujino said, suggesting that a larger version of the light jet could become a reality for Honda in the future.