The $3.9 million HondaJet appears to be on track for certification and first deliveries in late 2011, with the first conforming airframe expected to fly early next year, Honda Aircraft said yesterday at the NBAA Convention. The company also announced that the HondaJet flight deck has been upgraded from a Honda-edition Garmin G1000 to a Honda-defined version of the new touchscreen Garmin G3000.
When Honda Aircraft (Booth No. 5394) announced a one-year delay to its business jet program last spring, some feared the worst as the U.S. economy struggled. It turned out the Japanese aircraft maker had fallen victim to many of the same supplier problems other OEMs were experiencing, a problem that translated into some new suppliers being brought on board.
The GE Honda joint venture last Thursday fired up the first conforming version of its new 2,095-lb-thrust HF120 engine currently slated for certification in 2011. Initial engine tests are typically completed in a sea-level test cell, with high-altitude performance testing conducted onboard an aircraft.
The first GE Honda HF120 engine has successfully started its initial test run at GE Aviation’s altitude test chamber in Evendale, Ohio, the company announced yesterday at the NBAA Convention. “This is a significant milestone and represents the transition from the design-definition phase to the test and certification phase of the HF120,” said GE Honda Aero Engines president Bill Dwyer.
Last spring, Honda Aircraft (Booth No. 5394) brought a new cabin mockup of its twinjet to the European Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (EBACE). Here at NBAA’09, the Greensboro, N.C.-based manufacturer is showing its HondaJet prototype and a fuselage mockup in its exhibit.
Assembly has begun at GE’s manufacturing facility in Lynn, Mass., on the first production GE Honda HF120 engine that will be used for FAA certification tests. “With the experience we’ve gained through our demonstrator engine testing program, we are confident the HF120 engine configuration is mature and are anticipating a smooth FAA certification testing program,” said GE Honda Aero Engines president Bill Dwyer.
Honda Aircraft has announced a delay in first flight of the conforming prototype HondaJet and projected first customer delivery. The next prototype was originally scheduled to have flown by now, and the new date is January next year. First customer delivery is now planned for the fourth quarter 2011, at least a year later than planned.
Citing global aerospace industry challenges, Honda Aircraft last month announced that it is moving the projected first flight of a production-conforming HondaJet to January next year, a delay of nearly a year from its previous schedule. A HondaJet prototype has been flying since Dec. 3, 2003.
Honda Aircraft, which announced last month a one-year delay in certification of its HondaJet as a result of supplier issues, remains confident, buoyed by an order book for “well over 100 aircraft.” According to Stephen Keeney, senior manager for corporate affairs, “the vast majority of our customers are sticking with us.”
The second half of this year will mark “significant certification testing milestones” for the GE Honda Aero Engines HF120, the turbofan that will power both the HondaJet and Spectrum S.40 Freedom, the engine partners said yesterday at EBACE.