In The Works: Honda Aircraft HondaJet

 - July 31, 2007, 12:37 PM

As preparations continue for the construction of Honda Aircraft’s new world headquarters building in Greensboro, N.C., Honda engineers are refining the aircraft design and laying the groundwork for more prototypes.

The next prototype will conform to the final design and production standards, according to Honda Aircraft president and CEO Michimasa Fujino, and will incorporate changes based on what the company has learned thus far in 310 hours of flight testing of the first prototype.

The HondaJet design is now 80 to 90 percent frozen, he added. Four more prototypes will be built, one for structural testing and three for ground and flight testing. Honda expects to fly prototype number two in the first quarter of 2009, Fujino said.

Using data derived from its experience with the first prototype, Honda is working to reduce the parts count, and therefore costs, and to improve reliability and access to components. The company is using software tools to model accessibility. Research and development technicians with engineering backgrounds are providing feedback to designers.

The first HondaJet prototype is close to the final design in many respects, and that is because Fujino consulted FAA designated engineering representatives early in the design process to make sure that the jet met FAR Part 23 certification criteria.