The first production conforming HondaJet is now scheduled to fly in the middle of this year, at a date yet to be determined, according to a Honda Aircraft spokesman. The prototype HondaJet has been flying since Dec. 3, 2003, and has met projected performance targets during more than 500 hours of testing by flying at a top speed of 420 knots and altitude of 43,000 feet. Production of the first HondaJets to conform to the type design and to manufacturing processes is under way at Honda Aircraft’s Greensboro, N.C. headquarters.
Honda Aircraft previously had pegged the first conforming Honda- Jet flight for early this year. “We already have implemented Honda’s production-level quality standards in our build process for the conforming aircraft,” the spokesman said, “and it is taking slightly longer than anticipated to assemble conforming aircraft to these standards.” Although Honda Aircraft contracted with Avcorp, British Columbia, to manufacture wing structural subassemblies, Honda is building conforming aircraft wing assemblies itself in Greensboro. The Honda Aircraft engineering team in Greensboro is “using the extra time to first flight to further improve the aircraft and perfect our manufacturing processes,” he explained. Honda Aircraft budgeted 24 months for testing and certification of the HondaJet, but that has been reduced to 18 months, he added, “through flight-test program optimization and the reduction of a built-in buffer.” The goal of first delivery of the HondaJet by the end of 2011 is still on track, he said.