October 30, 2012
Credit: Credit: Honda Aviation
Honda Aircraft is hoping to certify its new twin HondaJet next year, but president and CEO Michimasa Fujino says the company plans to “fine tune” that schedule once the GE Honda Aero HF120 engine completes final tests this year.
Engine and aircraft certification were pushed back after the HF120 encountered problems during ice testing last year, forcing GE Honda to change the engine fan design and delay engine certification to mid-2013.
Honda has four aircraft in flight tests, but a portion of that testing will not count toward aircraft certification and must be repeated given the changes in engine design.
Fujino is optimistic that the program is making “good progress,” and that the HondaJet remains on track for delivery late next year.
Honda Aircraft has begun production of the initial customer aircraft. The components, fuselage and wings have been produced and assembly has begun for the first customer aircraft. Fujino expects the company will produce as many as a dozen aircraft next year and have three or four completed aircraft ready for delivery by the end of 2013.
Honda completed a number of tests over the past year, including crew seat crash tests, ultimate load testing, European Aviation Safety Agency windshield bird strike testing, and light testing.
Honda expects first flight of a fifth aircraft early next year, and recently completed power-on electrical testing.
The company Sept. 27 broke ground on a 90,000-sq.-ft. maintenance, repair and overhaul support center that will house a 24/7 support center. The addition will expand Honda’s presences in Greensboro, N.C. to 600,000 sq. ft. and more than 130 acres.
Honda Aircraft is investing more than $20 million in the center, part of more than $100 million overall to develop the Greensboro campus, Fujino says. The facilities currently employ 750 workers. Fujino expects that number to grow to about 1,000 within the next two years.