Engine development drives aircraft development, so it should not be surprising that Honda is forecasting the certification date of its HondaJet based on the date of the certification of its engine, the GE Honda Aero Engines HF120. It’s more complicated than that, of course, but that’s the Cliff Notes version.
In early May AIN quoted a Honda spokesperson as saying, “We are targeting HondaJet certification by the end of 2014, based on the engine testing and certification schedule.” This was confirmed with considerable vigor at two NBAA 2013 press conferences yesterday here at NBAA.
At the earlier Honda Aircraft press conference, company president and CEO Michimasa Fujino said that the HondaJet would be certified by the end of 2014, as long as the HF120 engine was certified by the end of this year.
Just two hours later, Terry Sharp, president of GE Honda Aero Engines, said definitively, “We have completed all the certification testing on the engine and last week we submitted the final two reports to the FAA. Our confidence is high that we will have the type certificate by the end of this year.”
For perspective, GE Honda Aero Engines had said at NBAA 2012 that it expected all certification testing to be completed by the end of 2012, which did not happen. The situation now is different, however. In addition to the aforementioned milestones, the lead test engine has accumulated 3,000 cycles, the design of the production engine is frozen, the parts kit for the first engine is due on site at the end of this month and the supply chain is ramping up. In baseball terms, the HF120 has rounded third base and is halfway to home plate.
Meanwhile Fujino said, “The HondaJet program continues its steady progress toward certification, and we anticipate receiving FAA type inspection authorization in the next few months. Entering this phase of flight testing will be a significant milestone toward certification.”
Among Honda Aircraft’s recent accomplishments are the first flight of the fifth FAA-conforming aircraft on May 16, the completion of “wet runway” water-ingestion tests in July and cold-weather testing in International Falls, Minn. and at the McKinley Climatic Laboratory at Eglin Air Force Base. To date, HondaJet test pilots have flown more than 4,000 test points.
Fujino also announced at NBAA 2013 that Honda Aircraft (Booth No. C11524, and static park) and American Honda Finance Corporation (AHFC) intend to offer term-loan financing for customers in the U.S. AHFC is a subsidiary of American Honda Motor Co.