LAS VEGAS, U.S.A., October 21, 2013 - Honda Aircraft Company announced achievements and significant milestones in the development of the HondaJet, the world's most advanced light jet, at the 2013 National Business Aviation Association's Business Aviation (NBAA) Convention and Exhibition in Las Vegas, Nev. The HondaJet flight test program is nearing its final phase and manufacturing is approaching build completion on the first production HondaJet.
"The HondaJet program continues its steady progress toward certification, and we anticipate receiving Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Type Inspection Authorization in the next few months," said Michimasa Fujino, president and CEO of Honda Aircraft Company. "Entering this final phase of flight testing will be a significant milestone toward certification."
The HondaJet program has flown more than 4,000 test points and has conducted numerous missions to remote testing sites across the U.S. The company successfully completed "wet runway" water ingestion tests at the NASA Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia to examine the effects of water spray. The tests were conducted in July 2013 with the company's third FAA-conforming aircraft.
In September, Honda Aircraft conducted cold weather testing at the McKinley Climatic Laboratory, the world's largest environmental testing chamber, located at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida. The company's fourth and fifth FAA-conforming HondaJets were subjected to extreme cold temperatures – down to minus 40 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 40 degrees Celsius) – to test aircraft mechanical systems, engine starts, and electrical and avionics systems. This testing augments the cold weather testing the company completed in March 2013 in International Falls, Minn., and engine inlet anti-ice tests at the NASA Glenn Research Tunnel in Cleveland, Ohio.
Honda Aircraft has also commenced interior and cabin systems tests on the fifth FAA-conforming HondaJet, which joined the flight test program in May 2013. This aircraft will also be used for future function and reliability (F&R) testing and is the first HondaJet test aircraft to have a production interior. This FAA-conforming aircraft will be on static display at the Honda Aircraft Company exhibit at Henderson Executive Airport during the show.
The HondaJet program is currently undergoing FAA full-scale fatigue testing. The tests are being conducted in Honda Aircraft Company's state-of-the-art R&D facility in Greensboro, N.C. The structural test team continues to validate the HondaJet airframe through sophisticated fatigue strength testing and has achieved more than 600 cycles that represent more than one year of simulated flights for a high-time operator. This testing will prove the HondaJet airframe's fatigue strength well before the HondaJet enters service. The structural test program's target is to conduct the equivalent of three airframe lifetimes for metallic fatigue testing and limit load residual strength testing; and two airframe lifetimes of composite damage tolerance testing.
HondaJet production continues with six production HondaJets on the assembly line. The Honda Aircraft manufacturing team has mated the first production aircraft's wing and empennage with build activities for this HondaJet nearing completion.
"The Honda Aircraft production team is diligently preparing to ramp-up production by continuing to implement lean manufacturing techniques and investing in workforce training," said Fujino.
"We anticipate our production workforce will double as we prepare for HondaJet entry into service."
Additionally, during the press conference, Honda Aircraft Company and American Honda Finance Corporation (AHFC) announced the companies' intentions to offer term loan financing for HondaJet customers in the United States.
AHFC, a subsidiary of American Honda Motor Co., Inc., will provide financing and account servicing for HondaJet customers in the U.S. and collaborate with Honda Aircraft Company to develop the systems and infrastructure to support HondaJet customers. AHFC expects to begin accepting credit applications in time to support deliveries. AHFC and Honda Aircraft Company will provide additional details on this financing program early next year.
"We are once again challenging the industry by bringing new value to the ownership experience," said Fujino. "Offering aircraft financing for HondaJet customers in the U.S. is a logical extension of Honda's philosophy to provide innovative products that are backed by unsurpassed service and support."
Honda Aircraft Company also marked the opening of its state-of-the-art customer service facility on Oct. 17, 2013. The new facility is an expansion of Honda Aircraft Company's world headquarters at the Piedmont Triad International Airport in Greensboro, N.C. With this new facility's addition, the Honda Aircraft campus totals more than 130 acres and more than 600,000 square feet.
The customer service facility will provide a corporate base for the company's customer service organization, which will manage warranty administration; service programs sales and administration; 24/7 technical support; technical publications; training; and will complement the HondaJet dealer network by providing heavy maintenance and major repair and overhaul work.
"With a focus on innovation and a challenging spirit, we will continue our efforts to provide the best sales and service experience to exceed our customers' expectations," said Fujino. "This commitment includes evaluating future opportunities to positively enhance the HondaJet ownership experience."