HondaJet Engine Closing in on Certification

The much anticipated HondaJet, which has been trudging toward certification since it first flew nearly a decade ago, is finally getting to the home stretch as the HF120 engine that will power the twinjet is nearing certification. With an emphasis on the word "all," Terry Sharp, president of GE Honda Aero Engines, announced that all certification testing has been completed, all reports have been submitted to the FAA and that the company has "line of sight to type certification by the end of the year."

Once the HondaJet's engine is certified, first deliveries can start about a year later, the company said.

Since the test program started in 2010, 13 different engines were used for more than 12,000 engine cycles and 8,400 test hours. One engine was torn down after more than 3,000 cycles and, according to Sharp, the condition of the engine was "quite good" and "no significant issues" were found. The next phase is to test the engine to the targeted 5,000-hour TBO, Sharp said and the goal is to have that phase completed before the airplane goes into service.

This is good news for HondaJet as the engine is what has been named as the primary cause for several delays in the certification program. There are currently six airplanes on the production line, and Michimasa Fujino, president and CEO of Honda Aircraft Company, said the manufacturer hopes to deliver four to five airplanes at the time of certification. Production rates are expected to ramp up to about a dozen airplanes per year during the first couple of years and 80 airplanes per year a few years into production.

Other good news for potential HondaJet buyers is that financing for the $4.5 million (2010 dollars) jet is now in place through American Honda Finance Corporation, the same company that provides financing for Honda's cars and motorcycles in the United States.

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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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