HondaJet test flights completed, ready for certification

Honda Aircraft Co. recently announced that it has completed function and reliability test flights for the HondaJet. “Honda Aircraft will conclude testing with the FAA in a few days, which will pave the way for HondaJet type certification and entry into service,” company President and CEO Michimasa Fujino said. “We are expecting FAA type certification of the world’s most advanced light jet very soon.”

Function and reliability testing simulates typical in-service operations for a new aircraft design. Tests include takeoffs, landings, system operations, failure cases, approaches, and operations in hot, cold and humid environments. The HondaJet has flown to 54 airports in 31 states as part of F&R testing. In October, Honda Aircraft completed all Part 23 certification flight testing. The flight test program has exceeded 3,000 flight hours, with testing at more than 70 U.S. locations.

Honda is already building aircraft at its 133-acre campus at PTI, where 1,500 people work.

It has spent nine years and at least $2 billion, according to some estimates, to develop the jet but has delayed delivery several times. This new statement is the most optimistic yet. Fujino said the company has concluded its function-and-reliability testing, which simulates typical, in-service flight operations. Those tests include takeoffs, landings and other key operations in hot, cold and humid conditions. The HondaJet has flown to 54 airports in 31 states as part of testing, the company said in the news release. Honda Aircraft also added that the jet has further demonstrated “readiness for entry into service” after a world tour earlier this year through Japan, Europe and South America where the aircraft flew more than 300 hours.

The $4.5 million jet, which seats four people, is unusual in the industry because its engines are mounted above the wings. The fuselage is unusual because it is made of light — but strong — composite material. The company has said for several years that it already has “more than a hundred” orders for the jets, which can be built at a rate of roughly 80 a year on the company’s assembly line. Honda’s headquarters at PTI includes a maintenance and repair operation and a pilot training center. Engines for the HondaJet are made about 30 miles to the east in Burlington at sister company GE Honda Aero Engines. That company received FAA certification for its engines earlier this year. Honda Aircraft chose PTI in 2006 as its headquarters after operating for several years in a nondescript research building. Earlier this year, Fujino said at an industry event in Brazil that “aviation certification is a very complex process, which is why it is so difficult to enter the market.”

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