December 20, 2011
By Thomas A. Horne
Honda Aircraft Co. announced that the third conforming HondaJet—conforming to the HondaJet’s FAA-approved design, that is—has made its first flight. The airplane, known as “F2” within Honda, is a flight-test airplane that first flew on Nov. 18. F2, based at Honda Aircraft’s world headquarters at the Greensboro, N.C., Piedmont Triad International Airport, performed several checks on the first flight.
Among them were landing gear, flap, and aircraft handling evaluations. Air data system checks were also performed, as well as an ILS approach flown using the flight director. The airplane performed “quite well,” according to a company statement.
“The first flight of a flight test aircraft is an important milestone for an aircraft certification program, and the fact that we achieved F2’s first flight shortly after receiving its engines illustrates our team’s preparation and readiness,” said Michimasa Fujino, president and CEO of Honda Aircraft Co. “The aircraft’s performance is as expected and flying in the aircraft is exhilarating,” he added.
The first conforming HondaJet had its maiden flight on Dec. 20, 2010. It has already achieved benchmarks that meet or exceed the airplane’s original design goals: a maximum speed of 425 KTAS at 30,000 feet; a climb rate of 4,000 fpm; and a maximum operating altitude of 43,000 feet.
Honda plans to add two more flight-test airplanes—F3 and F4—in 2012. Structural testing with an additional airframe will also begin next year, Honda Aircraft said.
AOPA Pilot Editor at Large Tom Horne has worked at AOPA since the early 1980s. He began flying in 1975 and has an airline transport pilot and flight instructor certificates. He’s flown everything from ultralights to Gulfstreams and ferried numerous piston airplanes across the Atlantic.
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