July 30, 2013
By Thomas B Haines
While the original prototype HondaJet had become a mainstay in recent years at EAA AirVenture, this year two FAA conforming HondaJets swooped in on the crowd and participated in a two-ship flyby and series of maneuvers. The airshow represents the first time the red and blue business jets have flown before an AirVenture crowd.
The two light jets at AirVenture are Honda Aircraft Co.’s third and fifth FAA-conforming HondaJets. Conforming aircraft meet the final specifications of a production model. Since 2010, the company has developed and produced six FAA-conforming HondaJets: four flight test and two structural test aircraft. These aircraft are used for flight testing and ground structural testing to meet FAA certification requirements.
The third FAA-conforming HondaJet joined the program in November 2011 and is being used for mechanical system testing. This testing has included the brake control system, nosewheel steering, and flight controls. This aircraft was also used for hot weather testing conducted in Yuma, Ariz., and traveled to the NASA Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia for “wet runway” water ingestion testing to examine the effects of water spray.
The fifth conforming HondaJet joined the test program in May 2013 and is being used for cabin system testing, interior testing, and options testing. It also will be used for FAA function and reliability (F&R) testing. It is the first HondaJet to be equipped with a production interior and is anchoring the final leg of the flight test program.
The company expects to certify the $4.5 million six-place jet toward the end of 2014.
AOPA Editor in Chief Tom Haines joined AOPA in 1988. He owns and flies a Beechcraft A36 Bonanza. Since soloing at 16 and earning a private pilot certificate at 17, he has flown more than 100 models of general aviation airplanes.
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