Here we are in 2012, nearly 110 years since the Wright Brothers made the first controlled, powered and sustained heavier-than-air flight, and with some notable exceptions aircraft design over the years has become about as conservative and uninspired as a bowl of Jello.
Honda HA-420 HondaJet
The southern U.S. state of Mississippi is continuing to grow as an aerospace center, having recently announced major plant expansions by General Atomics’ Electromagnetic Systems group and Rolls-Royce. It is home to companies that produce helicopters, airborne early warning radar systems, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), parachutes, electromagnetic launch systems for aircraft carriers and composite jet engine components.
The HondaJet fuselage displayed this week at EBACE was a production article with the production interior and cockpit. Some changes are evident in the fuselage, notably the removal of flip-down displays above each passenger seat.
GE Aviation (Stand 1143) is here promoting its 800-hp H80 turboprop engine, which was certificated by the U.S. Federal Aviation Adminstration in March and already has several applications. Meanwhile, the HF120 turbofan program–for the HondaJet–has progressed slowly.
Michimasa Fujino, president and CEO of Honda Aircraft Co., announced recent certification milestones for the company’s HondaJet yesterday at EBACE, while unveiling new enhancements for the VLJ’s avionics and cabin management system (CMS).
Honda Aircraft president and CEO Michimasa Fujino announced recent certification milestones for the company’s HondaJet today at EBACE, while unveiling new enhancements for the light jet’s avionics and cabin management system (CMS).
Honda Aircraft’s third FAA design-conforming flight test prototype–F2–made its first flight on Nov. 18, 2011, from Honda Aircraft headquarters at Piedmont Triad International Airport in Greensboro, N.C. Stephan Johansson captained the flight, along with copilot Tom Maurer. The 44-minute first test flight reached 12,480 feet and 245 ktas and included flap and landing-gear operation and handling tests at low speed and up to 200 ktas as well as air data systems checks and an ILS approach using the flight director in the HondaJet’s Garmin G3000 avionics suite.
GE Aviation, while it may still be associated largely with commercial and military powerplants, has been focusing its gaze on the business aviation market over the past several years.
Shawn O’Day, head of the company’s business and general aviation marketing, told AIN that although business aviation has historically been a segment of opportunity for GE, it is an area where the engine and systems maker sees potential. In fact, the company signaled its intention to expand its business and general aviation footprint at last year’s Paris Air Show.
On Tuesday, the one-year anniversary of the start of flight testing for its first conforming light jet, Honda announced that its third FAA design-conforming HondaJet (F2) joined the test program.
Aerostructures specialist GKN (Booth No. C7127) is looking to leverage its expertise in commercial airliner technology to break further ground in the business aviation world. The UK-based group is promising breakthroughs that could shave hundreds of valuable pounds off aircraft structural and system weights.