The first FAA-conforming HondaJet has successfully completed its first flight, Honda Aircraft Company announced on Tuesday. The flight took place on Monday at about 3:30 p.m. local time at the company´s base at Piedmont Triad International Airport in Greensboro, N.C. The HondaJet flew for 51 minutes while the crew conducted systems checks and evaluated flight characteristics and performance.
"This is a very important milestone for the HondaJet program," said Michimasa Fujino, CEO of Honda Aircraft Company. "This aircraft was assembled and tested under strict FAA certification processes, and we are very pleased to have achieved this successful first flight." The airplane performed as expected, Fujino said. The company said deliveries of the aircraft will start in 2012.
A second FAA-conforming aircraft has also been completed, and is being used for structural testing. Honda also is working on its third FAA-conforming aircraft, which should be completed early next year. A total of five FAA-conforming aircraft are planned to support the HondaJet certification program. While Honda enters the flight test program with its conforming HondaJet, the company also nears completion of its aircraft production facility on its Greensboro campus.
The 266,000 ft2 HondaJet production facility is scheduled for completion in early 2011, with the final phase of interior build-out now underway. A proof-of-concept aircraft has been flying for several years and accumulated more than 500 flight hours, with a top speed of 420 knots and a maximum altitude of 43,000 feet. The conforming design retains the unusual pylon-mounted above-the-wing engine placement and the distinctive nose shape of the original proof-of-concept. The company says it has over 100 orders in hand for the .5 million light jet.