“The HondaJet program is steadily progressing toward certification and first delivery,” Honda Aircraft president and CEO Michimasa Fujino said this week at EBACE. As previously reported, FAA type certification of the light jet has been delayed by a year to late next year, primarily due to delays in certifying its GE Honda Aero HF120 engines. EASA certification is scheduled to follow in mid-2015.
Fujino pointed to several milestones illustrating the program’s progress, most recently completion of a fifth FAA-conforming HondaJet and its first flight on May 16. Equipped with a production interior and options, “It will anchor the final leg of our flight-test program,” Fujino said, and be used for function and reliability testing to simulate in-service flight operations and for interior and cabin systems tests.
The Greensboro, N.C.-based company began HondaJet production last October and expects to have “six to seven in progress at the end of this year,” Fujino said. He called the HondaJet’s certification delays “regrettable,” but said the company has used the time to fine-tune the program to increase efficiency before the start of production. He also expressed gratitude that few buyers have cancelled their orders for the $4.5 million jet. As for the number of airplanes on order, Honda Aircraft has consistently said “more than a hundred.”