Honda Aircraft has extended by another year its target for obtaining certification for the HondaJet, to the end of next year, according to a company spokesman. “We are targeting HondaJet certification by the end of 2014, based on the engine testing and certification schedule,” he said. The jet’s GE Honda Aero HF120 engine is now scheduled to receive certification in fourth quarter 2013. No further details were available at press time, but Honda Aircraft plans to provide more information at an EBACE press conference on May 20.
Very light jets
Jim Rice, chairman and CEO of VisionAire Jets, surfaced at ABACE 2013 this week in Shanghai to market the benefits of a single-engine jet and tell potential investors about the program. VisionAire Jets is developing the all-composite Vantage Jet, which will be powered by a single Williams International FJ33-3AP turbofan and fly up to 1,500 nm with a pilot and five passengers.
The future of business aviation in China will include single-engine jets, so says Jim Rice, chairman and CEO of VisionAire Jets, who is here promoting the Vantage composite jet. Rice came to ABACE 2013 not only to show the Chinese market the benefits of a single-engine jet, but also to tell potential investors about the VisionAire program.
Cirrus Aircraft remains committed to the single-engine Vision SF50 jet program, and with suspension of the Diamond D-Jet is now the front-runner in the race to bring a single-engine jet to market. Cirrus has hired more than 100 engineers, designers and technicians for the Vision team and is recruiting additional personnel, according to the company. Most recently, Cirrus promoted former executive v-p and COO Pat Waddick to president and COO.
Eclipse Aerospace powered up the first production Eclipse 550 very light jet at its Albuquerque, N.M. facility, the company announced yesterday. An Eclipse spokesperson told AIN the process entailed “a normal power on of both [Pratt & Whitney PW610F turbofans] and all aircraft systems.”
Canada-based Diamond Aircraft has again suspended its single-engine D-Jet program and has temporarily laid off the majority of its workforce while it restructures. “Regrettably, we need to suspend activity on the D-Jet program, pending the securing of additional funding,” said Diamond president and CEO Peter Maurer in a press release issued yesterday.
The U.S. Air Force is gathering information to help it decide if a very light jet (VLJ)–typically a jet with a maximum takeoff weight below 10,000 pounds–could replace its fleet of Raytheon T-1A Jayhawk trainers. The service conducted similar market research in 2006.
China Aviation Industry General Aircraft (Caiga), a subsidiary of state-owned Aviation Industry Corporation of China (Avic), has started the “trial production” of a prototype for the new business jet it is planning to develop based on the existing Cirrus Vision SF50 design. Caiga acquired U.S.-based Cirrus Industries in 2011.
Albuquerque, N.M.-based Eclipse Aerospace responded Friday to a U.S. Air Force request for information (RFI) concerning possible replacement of the service’s 178 Beechjet 400-based T-1 Jayhawks with very light jets. This is the second time the USAF has put out feelers for VLJs, having issued a broader RFI for these small jets in November 2006.