Honda Aircraft CEO Provides HondaJet Update

** HondaJet Fleet**

Honda Aircraft Company's president and CEO Michimasa Fujino provided a full update on the company's HondaJet program at the European Business Aviation Convention and Exhibition (EBACE) in Geneva, Switzerland. The program, he said, has picked up momentum after the GE Honda HF120 engines achieved certification, with the HondaJet well on its way to reaching its certification target. "We hope there will be no more glitches," Fujino said in an exclusive interview with Flying.

The first production HondaJet is in the final assembly stage and is scheduled to take off on its first flight this summer. The airplane features a new paint scheme with a white base and deep pearl green design accented with gold striping. The color scheme is the fifth and final one that will be offered to customers. The others — yellow, red, blue and silver — are featured on the flight test platforms.

Fujino said he would like to stay with one paint-scheme for now to maintain a uniform image, but said there could be opportunities for further customization in the future.

The airplane will be certified to 15,000 cycles or 20,000 hours, but to ensure the reliability of the structure Honda Aircraft Company is testing the HondaJet to three life cycles. A full-scale fatigue test facility is in full swing at the Greensboro, North Carolina headquarters.

With many hours of flight testing completed before the engine certification was achieved, Fujino said he is confident that the continuation of the program will progress smoothly. FAA certification tests, such as stall testing, systems testing, water ingestion testing and cold weather testing, are well underway. And with the production line hard at work, Fujino anticipates the delivery of six HondaJets immediately following certification, which is now targeted for the first quarter of 2015.

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Pia Bergqvist joined FLYING in December 2010. A passionate aviator, Pia started flying in 1999 and quickly obtained her single- and multi-engine commercial, instrument and instructor ratings. After a decade of working in general aviation, Pia has accumulated almost 3,000 hours of flight time in nearly 40 different types of aircraft.

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