Honda head Michimasa Fujino took the opportunity at Ebace to update the industry on the progress of Honda’s eponymous light jet on Monday, telling reporters that the fourth Honda Jet recently made its first flight and that the program is making great progress toward certification, with FAA and EASA certification anticipated in 2013.
The jet recently flew up to 43,000 feet and achieved 425 knots true airspeed at 30,000 feet. Mr. Fujino said he believes there are some noteworthy figures still to come as test pilots expand the envelope in the higher flight levels. Test pilots have already conducted tests of the airplane’s tail boom-mounted speed brakes. Mr. Fujino said that the company plans to deliver a handful of airplanes 2013, to ramp up production in 2014 and to achieve full production rates in 2015.
The program was delayed last year when the GE/Honda HF120 engine failed icing tests and had to be redesigned. GE’s VP of business and general aviation Brad Mottier told Flying that the newly redesigned engine is on track to earn certification later this year and to be ready in time for Honda’s certification efforts.
Honda seems to have gone into a new phase of marketing the airplane, as it focuses on the airplane’s competitive sales story. At 420 knots and with a climb rate of nearly 4,000 fpm, it will boast performance figures that are hard to beat, though it will be more expensive than it’s closest competitors, the Embraer Phenom 100 and Cessna Citation M2, by nearly half a million dollars. Honda reports that it has “more than 100 orders” for the Honda Jet.