Honda Aircraft Co. chronicled several milestones in the development of the HondaJet at the annual National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) convention, being held in Orlando this week. Achievements include the completion of major structural assemblies for the first conforming aircraft; selection of an avionics suite featuring Garmin’s G3000; the first flight of Honda’s Advanced Systems Integration Test Facility; Honda’s Flight Ready Maintenance Service Program; and the company’s FedEx logistics partnership.
In preparation for the planned first flight of conforming aircraft in early 2010, Honda has completed major structural assemblies, including the fuselage, wing, empennage, landing gear, and other components for the first conforming aircraft.
Honda also has completed a number of qualification tests, such as rejected takeoff (RTO) brake tests and crew- and cabin-seat crash tests, as well as critical structural parts tests, company officials reported.
Honda officials added the company continues to work closely with the FAA on certification of the HondaJet, completing an Interim Type Certification Board Meeting (ITCBM) in August. A formal agreement has been reached and implemented with the FAA regarding the manufacturing conformity process for the type-certification test aircraft. In addition, Honda and the FAA are engaged in discussions to finalize the requirements for the first Type Inspection Authorization (TIA), which allows the start of FAA flight testing.
Honda is manufacturing conforming aircraft wing assemblies at its R&D complex on its world headquarters campus in Greensboro, North Carolina.
Honda also has completed preparations for on-site static and fatigue structural testing. Honda’s MTS FlexTest structural test system incorporates 61 hydraulic actuators and a 2,600-channel data acquisition system within a structural test fixture designed for HondaJet testing. The system is capable of testing the entire aircraft to prove static and fatigue strength under various flight and ground load conditions. Honda’s test facility includes an environmental chamber to simulate hot-wet conditions, which is required testing for the validation of composite structures.
“We are pleased to have achieved such positive results in the completion of major structural assemblies for conforming aircraft, and we are now fully focused on final assembly of the first conforming aircraft. We are now ready for FAA structural testing. Although we face many challenges ahead, every Honda associate is diligently working towards first flight early next year,” said Michimasa Fujino, Honda president and CEO.
The production HondaJet flight deck will feature a customized Garmin G3000 next-generation all-glass avionics system incorporating three 14-inchndisplays and dual touch-screen controllers for overall avionics control and flight plan entries.
On October 7, Honda accomplished the first flight of the HondaJet Advanced Systems Integration Test Facility (ASITF) located at the company’s R&D complex on its Greensboro campus. The ASITF is an aircraft systems integration test facility, primarily consisting of two major elements: the aircraft test facility, and the Real-time Test and Simulation System (RTSS). It incorporates actual aircraft systems hardware and software, interconnected with actual aircraft electrical harnesses. It also includes a fully representative primary flight control system with a high-fidelity control-loading system.
The production HondaJet will offer EMTEQ’s SkyPro integrated cabin management and in-flight entertainment system as an option. The system will include audio/video on demand (AVOD), interactive 3-D high-definition moving map, and cabin control capabilities such as cabin/cockpit communications, climate control and interior lighting, among others. HondaJet also will offer an XM Satellite Radio option.
Flight Ready Maintenance Service Program
Honda also unveiled its HondaJet Flight Ready maintenance service program. Participation allows owners to plan on one hourly maintenance rate based on selected coverage and tailored to expected aircraft utilization. The program offers three levels of coverage: Flight Ready Protection-P1(TM) (“P-One”), which is included in the purchase price of all new HondaJet aircraft. In addition to other OEM support services, it provides a comprehensive warranty program including airframe, avionics and engine warranties; Flight Ready Performance-P2(TM) (“P-Two”), which is designed for customers who have access to facilities with qualified and trained technicians. It provides various services, including airframe and avionics exchange component coverage that extends to both scheduled and unscheduled maintenance events; and Flight Ready Precision-P3(TM) (“P-Three”), which was created for customers who want the convenience of one-stop servicing. In addition to coverage in the P2 plan, it also includes labor expenses for scheduled and unscheduled maintenance performed at authorized HondaJet maintenance facilities. This plan is Honda’s “Nose-to-Tail” service option.
All Flight Ready plans are fully transferrable. Extended engine coverage — provided through GE Honda Aero Engines — is available up to full engine overhaul, including all major components and systems.
HondaJet Production Facility
Construction of the HondaJet production facility on Honda Aircraft’s campus in Greensboro has begun with the completion of ground preparations and the commencement of piling installations. The 250,000-square-foot facility, scheduled to be completed in February 2011, will house all production activities, as well as test flight operations and pilot training facilities. Honda has partnered with Flight Safety International to provide flight simulators that will be installed in the HondaJet production facility.
While construction of the production facility continues, Honda’s world headquarters building and R&D complex on campus are in full operation. Assembly of conforming aircraft currently is taking place in Honda’s 187,000-square-foot R&D complex, which has full production capabilities, including quality control and testing resources, paint booths, and maintenance support facilities. The HondaJet world delivery center also is located within Honda’s R&D complex.
At the NBAA convention, Honda and Federal Express formalized a business partnership to provide worldwide logistics support for HondaJet production activities and customer support. The new FedEx Worldwide Service Center, located near Honda’s campus at the Piedmont-Triad International Airport in Greensboro, provides Honda with flexibility to fulfill shipment deadlines and offers direct East Coast shipping to regional U.S. HondaJet sales and service facilities.
Sales of the HondaJet began in October 2006 in the U.S. and the order book now stands at more than 100, according to company officials. The $3.9 million HondaJet is Honda’s first-ever commercial aircraft. The HondaJet proof-of-concept aircraft has accumulated more than 500 flight test hours and attained a top speed of 420 knots (483 mph) and a maximum altitude of 43,000 feet in flight testing. It is powered by two highly fuel-efficient GE Honda HF120 turbofan jet engines.
For more information: HondaJet.com.