If you hold an order for one of the first three or four HondaJets, it’s time to start getting excited. The first several production aircraft are now on the assembly line in Greensboro, North Carolina, in anticipation of certification before the end of next year.
It’s been a long and winding road for the unique light jet design, and its HF120 engine development is a large part of the pros and cons of the development story. Most recently, problems with the engine fan blades in the joint GE-Honda program caused the entire project to delay certification for at least one year. But recently, water ingestion tests were completed at GE’s Peebles testing ground, just east of Cincinnati in Adams County, Ohio. Next up are bird-ingestion tests, in which one-pound carcasses will be blown into the running engine to test its mettle.
Honda is anything but perturbed by the length of the development program, having kept its beginnings a secret for several years. HondaJet president (and the father of the over-the-wing-engine program) Michimasa Fujino said, “Our commitment to deliver the best possible product that will bring new value to aviation remains. We have taken the necessary time and effort with the HondaJet program to do it right and give our customers the finest product with the best ownership experience possible.”