By Alton K. Marsh
Testing of the first demonstrator HF120 engine developed by GE Honda Aero Engines has begun in an engine cell at Honda's aircraft engine research center in Japan. Several iterations of the engine will be tested to determine which works best. In addition, final components are emerging for seven engines to be used in 2008 for certification tests.
Production will begin in 2009 at GE's Lynn, Mass., facility, but a new plant will open in Burlington, N.C., in 2010. The engine is slated to power the Spectrum Aeronautical Freedom business jet and the HondaJet. Both jets enter service in 2010, with Spectrum claiming certification will be completed in 2009.
A key feature of the engine is a claim that it can operate for 5,000 hours prior to major overhaul, with no hot-section inspections required during that time, thanks to advanced airfoil materials and coatings.
HondaJet's original HF118 engine has accumulated 4,000 of testing. It was redesigned for more thrust, less noise to meet future standards, lower emissions, and greater fuel efficiency. The HF120 produces 2,050 pounds of thrust, but that number can be varied slightly up or down to meet the needs of future airframe manufacturers. Specific fuel consumption is reported by the company as less than 0.7 pounds per hour per pound of thrust.
September 13, 2007