April 5, 2011
By Alton K. Marsh
Claims of top cruising speeds are sometimes just that, a claim. But Honda Aircraft Co. in Greensboro, N.C., has delivered on its promise of 420 KTAS by flying a conforming aircraft at 425 KTAS during a test flight.
The speed was attained at 30,000 feet. The aircraft was FAA-conforming, meaning it has the identical specifications to aircraft that will be delivered to customers. The speed test was flown March 11, but was not immediately announced.
"Our flight tests indicate the aircraft is handling and performing as expected, with excellent control harmony and stability,” said Michimasa Fujino, Honda Aircraft Co. president and CEO.
Test flights are continuing. Honda has completed its second FAA-conforming aircraft that has undergone numerous structural tests. Mating of the major components of the company's third conforming aircraft—to be used for mechanical systems flight-testing—has been completed, and systems installation is now well under way on this aircraft. A fourth conforming flight test aircraft is in the final stages of mating of major assemblies and will soon enter the systems installation phase of completion. A fifth conforming aircraft also is scheduled to support additional structural testing.
Construction of the HondaJet production facility on the company's Greensboro campus nears completion. Honda soon will take occupancy of the 263,400-square-foot production facility, and begin the process of moving equipment and personnel into the facility and undertaking pre-production preparations and training necessary to support HondaJet production ramp-up beginning in 2012.
Internet giant Google will acquire Titan Aerospace, the New Mexico-based developer of high-altitude unmanned aerial vehicles.
The National Aeronautic Association has awarded the Collier Trophy for “the first unmanned, autonomous air system operating from an aircraft carrier.”
AOPA and others urge FAA to quickly adopt regulations governing unmanned aerial systems (drones) to protect all airspace users.
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