Honda Aircraft Co. Inc. (Greensboro, N.C.) announced on Dec. 21 that it has successfully completed the first flight of an Federal Aviation Admin. (FAA)-conforming HondaJet light business jet. The event is a big step in Honda’s aerospace program, and it is a significant moment in the jet’s progress toward certification to FAA flight-safety standards. If the plane remains on schedule, first delivery will take place in 2012.
The first FAA-conforming HondaJet, built with an all-composite fuselage, lifted off on Dec. 20 at 3:31 p.m. EST from Honda Aircraft Co.’s world headquarters facility at the Piedmont Triad International Airport in Greensboro. The plane remained aloft for 51 minutes, during which time the aircraft’s flight and ground crews analyzed its flight characteristics and performance and conducted systems checks. A variety of test data gathered during the flight were transmitted in real time to Honda’s flight test telemetry operations base within the company’s world headquarters facility.
“This is a very important milestone for the HondaJet program,” said Michimasa Fujino, Honda Aircraft Co. 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 Honda’s focus and determination to develop a class-leading aircraft.”
To support the company’s certification program, Honda has completed its second FAA-conforming aircraft, which already has undergone numerous structural tests required for commencement of certification flight testing. Honda also has completed mating of the main assemblies for its third FAA-conforming aircraft, which is now in the systems installation phase. This third aircraft, intended primarily 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, will be assembled in support of the HondaJet certification program.
The 266,000-ft2/24,712m2 HondaJet production facility at the company’s Greensboro campus is scheduled for completion in early 2011. The final phase of the interior build-out is underway. Upon completion of the facility, Honda will begin the process of moving equipment and personnel into the facility, making preproduction preparations and providing training to support HondaJet production ramp-up beginning in 2012.