Thursday, July 12, 2012
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Honda Aircraft Co. completed the first flight of its FAA-conforming HondaJet light business jet, the company announced Dec. 21. The airframer said the flight is a "significant step in Hondas aerospace program leading to delivery of aircraft in 2012."
The first conforming HondaJet lifted off Dec. 20 from Honda Aircraft headquarters in Greensboro, N.C. The HondaJet remained aloft for 51 minutes, during which time its flight characteristics and performance were analyzed and systems checks were conducted. Various test data gathered during the flight were transmitted real-time to the companys telemetry operations base, Honda Aircraft said.
"This is a very important milestone for the HondaJet program," said Michimasa Fujino, Honda Aircraft Company president and CEO. "This aircraft was assembled and tested under strict FAA certification processes, and we are very pleased to have achieved this successful first flight. Our team has worked extremely hard to reach this critical step in the HondaJet program, and these results reflect Hondas focus and determination to develop a class-leading aircraft."
Honda Aircraft said it has completed a second FAA-conforming aircraft, which has undergone structural tests required for commencement of certification flight testing. The company also has completed mating of main assemblies for the third FAA-conforming aircraft, which is now in the systems installation phase. The third conforming aircraft, to be used mainly for mechanical systems flight testing, is scheduled for completion in early 2011. A total of five FAA-conforming aircraft, including one additional flight test aircraft and one additional structural test aircraft, are planned to support the HondaJet certification program.
The aircraft, which first flew in 2003, has experienced a series of development delays. The latest occurred earlier this year when Honda Aircraft postponed first customer deliveries until the third quarter of 2012, citing supplier production delays.
The HondaJet is powered by two GE Honda HF120 turbofan jet engines. The production HondaJet flight deck features a Honda-customized Garmin G3000 avionics suite, including three 14-inch landscape-format displays and dual touchscreen controllers. Other avionics suppliers include Emteq, New Berlin, Wis., (SkyPro Cabin Management System); Ametek Aerospace & Defense, Sensors and Fluid Management Systems Group (fuel gauging system) and Esterline subsidiary Korry (cockpit control panels).
Honda Aircraft is nearing completion of the HondaJet production facility on its Greensboro campus. The 266,000-square-foot facility is scheduled for completion in early 2011, with the final phase of interior build-out underway. Upon completion of the production facility, Honda Aircraft said it will begin the process of moving equipment and personnel into the facility and undertaking pre-production preparations and training necessary to support HondaJet production ramp-up beginning in 2012.