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). The first flight of the fourth of a planned six prototype aircraft took place on May 4, demonstrating “the steady advancement on our course toward delivering to our customers an aircraft that offers not only superior performance, efficiency and comfort, but also superior quality,” said Fujino.
With its distinctive, patented over-the-wing engine mounts, in flight tests the HondaJet has demonstrated best-in-class performance in airspeed (420 knots), service ceiling (43,000 feet), rate of climb (3,990 fpm) and fuel efficiency, burning 165 gallons on a 600-nm flight. The company reports more than 100 firm orders for the $4.5 million jet.
“The first target is the owner-pilot,” Fujino said of prospective buyers. “That is the first priority.”
Fujino unveiled the jet’s 40/60 display configuration for the three 14-inch monitors on the Garmin G3000 primary flight displays, dividing each screen into two tiles occupying 40 percent and 60 percent of the screen, respectively, providing a more user friendly visual scan that improves situational awareness. The CMS enables passengers to control cabin lighting, temperature, audio and window shades as well as view real-time flight information with wireless mobile devices such as a tablet or smartphone.
Honda Aircraft (Stand 7021) is also ramping up its support and training infrastructure. Construction of a maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) facility at its Greensboro, North Carolina headquarters will begin later this year, and FlightSafety International is developing a full-motion flight simulator for the HondaJet.
In an unusual arrangement for a business jet OEM, the HondaJet, or HA-420, will be sold through a dealer network, a route Fujino said was chosen because of the parent company, Honda Motors’, experience selling automobiles through dealer networks. Fujino announced that the company will have three dealers in Europe, with territories covering Northern Europe, Central Europe and Southern Europe.
The aircraft is powered by two GE Honda HF-120 turbofan engines, which the company is developing in a joint venture with GE Aviation under the banner of GE-Honda Aero Engines. The company anticipates U.S. certification for the HondaJet in the second half of 2013 with deliveries beginning soon after, followed by EASA certification. Production is expected to reach 80 to 100 units per year by 2015.
Here at EBACE, the company has a mockup with production interior, where attendees can view the new 60/40 avionics displays and try out the wireless cabin management system.