Honda Founder’s Dream Takes Flight at Greensboro Plant
Honda Aircraft president and CEO Michimasa Fujino welcomed members of the media on Tuesday to a rare open house at the company’s new production facility at Piedmont Triad International Airport in Greensboro, N.C. The $100 million, 263,000-sq-ft production facility was completed earlier this year. Inside the facility, Honda Aircraft activities include design, assembly, painting, completion, inspection, flight test, training, maintenance and delivery. Earlier this year, F1, the first FAA-conforming HondaJet, powered by two GE Honda HF120 turbofans, achieved performance goals of 43,000-foot maximum altitude and 3,990-fpm climb rate and exceeded the 420-knot maximum speed target by five knots. As engineers and technicians assemble the next flight-test HondaJets (F2 and F3), the production facility is being prepared for production ramp-up, which should begin next year, swelling the current employee ranks of 300 to about 1,000. The first HondaJet delivery is planned in the third quarter of 2012, and production should reach 70 to 100 jets per year in two to three years. Fujino, who first sketched the concept of a Honda jet in 1997, explained that company founder Soichiro Honda had a passion for aviation and originally hoped to build airplanes in the 1960s.