Created on Monday, 20 May 2013 Written by THE BELLEFONTAINE EXAMINER STAFF
GREENSBORO, N.C. — Honda Aircraft Co. today announced that its fifth Federal Aviation Administration conforming HondaJet, equipped with a production interior matching the final customer aircraft, successfully completed its first flight Thursday at the company’s world headquarters in Greensboro, N.C.
The latest version of the HondaJet takes off Thursday from the Piedmont Triad International Airport near Greensboro, N.C. (PHOTO | HONDA)
With this achievement, the HondaJet program approaches the final phase of flight testing as the company advances toward FAA aircraft certification of the world’s most advanced light jet.
The plane also is advancing through a series of European certifications.
“An aircraft’s first flight is an important and emotional milestone,” said Honda Aircraft Company President and CEO Michimasa Fujino. “It will anchor the final leg of our flight test program. From inside and out, this HondaJet matches the final configuration of a customer aircraft.”
The light jet lifted off at 3 p.m. from the Piedmont Triad International Airport. During the 60-minute flight, the aircraft performed very smoothly with an initial climb to 12,000 feet reaching a top, true airspeed of 345 mph.
Howard Judd, pilot-in-command, and Stefan Johansson, co-pilot, completed several checks during the flight, including low and high speed handling characteristics, avionics and system functionality including the stall protection system. Data gathered during the flight was transmitted in real time to the company’s on-site flight test telemetry operations for analysis.
This aircraft will be used for function and reliability testing to simulate in-service flight operations of the aircraft. It has a production interior with standard lavatory and options including a side-facing seat, and will be used for interior and cabin systems tests.
Future testing on the aircraft will also analyze the controller-pilot data link communications.
Since 2010, Honda Aircraft has developed and produced six FAA-conforming HondaJets. Four active flight test aircraft include:
• First conforming aircraft — aerodynamics, performance, and stability and control testing;
• Third conforming aircraft — mechanical system testing;
• Fourth conforming aircraft — avionics and electrical testing; and
• Fifth conforming aircraft — function and reliability (F&R) testing; and cabin system and interior, and options testing.
Two ground test aircraft include:
• Second conforming aircraft — structural testing and retired from the ground test program in 2012 after successfully completing all ultimate load testing, European Aviation Safety Agency bird strike test, and seat attachment test; and
• Sixth conforming aircraft — structural testing and joined the program in October 2012; currently being used for static testing and damage tolerance testing.
The HondaJet is priced at $4.5 million, and its design incorporates advanced technologies and concepts.
The HondaJet patented Over-The-Wing Engine Mount configuration, natural-laminar flow wing and fuselage nose and composite fuselage were developed from long-term research activities.
These innovations combine to make the HondaJet the fastest, most spacious and most fuel-efficient jet in its class, according to the company.