Certification of the long-anticipated HondaJet could be just days away with deliveries beginning before the end of the year. The event will culminate some two decades of development for the unusual twinjet that promises to be the fastest, most fuel efficient, and highest flying light jet. FAA certification pilots should finish the final function and reliability tests in the next few days with the agency giving its final stamp of approval shortly thereafter, according to Honda Aircraft President and CEO Michimasa Fujino. Twenty-five HondaJets are on the production line at the Greensboro, North Carolina, factory.
The test program consumed some 3,000 flight hours in 70 locations across the United States. During the function and reliability test phase alone, the airplane visited 58 airports in 34 states, plus a conforming prototype did a world marketing tour, Fujino told an audience of reporters at the National Business Aviation Association convention in Las Vegas on Nov. 17.
The airplane is powered by a pair of Honda GE HF120 engines mounted on top of the wings. Fujino designed the arrangement after years of development. The placement, along with the natural laminar flow wing and nose, contributes to the airplane’s 420-knot maximum cruise speed.
With certification nearly in the bag, the company is geared up to produce three to four airplanes a month in 2016, most of which will be delivered in the United States. Later years will see more airplanes go overseas. Honda claims 100 airplanes in its order book.
The training center at Greensboro is ready to begin pilot training, and service centers on three continents are ready to begin supporting the HondaJet, Fujino said.
But with the end in sight, questions abound about what’s next. “I like family,” Fujino teased, suggesting that the airfoil, fuselage, and technology developed for the airplane are all scalable for larger aircraft.