Honda a name synonymous with some great cars across the globe
is now ready for dominating the space above the ground. Yes, HondaJet has begun
a demonstration tour for customers as Honda Aircraft and the HondaJet dealer
network continue final preparations for entry into service.
The latest progress was announced by Honda Aircraft Company in
the US. The progress made by HondaJet programme was revealed during a press
conference at the 2014 National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) Convention
and Exhibition in Orlando, Florida.
Honda Aircraft Company President and CEO Michimasa Fujino
said that over the past three weeks, many customers experienced their first
flight in the HondaJet during a special demonstration tour. “We have enjoyed
seeing their excitement as we showcase the aircraft’s capabilities," he
said. The HondaJet programme is also in the final phase of certification
testing with the Federal Aviation Administration with all four flight test
aircraft maintaining an intensive certification testing schedule."
According to a Honda press release, Honda Aircraft Company
has conducted extensive certification flight testing at various locations
across the United States. This includes test of minimum control speed on ground
(Vmcg) in Kinston, North Carolina; high-field operation test in Telluride,
Colorado; high-elevation field performance test in Roswell, New Mexico;
crosswind landing test in Lubbock, Texas; avionics system test in Wichita,
Kansas; and extreme cold weather testing at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida.
The HondaJet has logged more than 2,000 flight hours on the
flight test fleet and has conducted testing at more than 70 locations across
In September, the first production HondaJet started a
demonstration tour with dealers in the United States and Canada. U.S. cities
have included Salt Lake City; Des Moines, Iowa; and Greensboro, North Carolina.
Canadian cities included Calgary, Edmonton, and Toronto. More than 100
passengers have experienced the HondaJet at these locations. The tour will
continue immediately after NBAA with stops in Fort Lauderdale, Florida; San
Antonio; Monterrey and Toluca, Mexico; Phoenix; and Southern California.
Fujino noted that his customers were very excited with the
climb performance, speed, and comfort of the HondaJet, and they consistently
remarked how quiet it was in operation. They were also impressed with the
spaciousness of the cabin and its interior fit and finish, he elaborated. “Our
effort to design the best interior with a focus on human factors has been appreciated
by customers," he added.
Meanwhile, at the Honda Aircraft Company’s world
headquarters in Greensboro, North Carolina, production is ramping up and the
final assembly line is full with 11 aircraft. The second production HondaJet is
nearing build completion. Honda Aircraft anticipates its first flight in the
next few months.
The company has also hired and trained more than 300
assembly technicians in the last 14 months to support aircraft production and
its continued ramp-up. Honda Aircraft anticipates adding an additional 150
production jobs prior to entry into service.
To support production ramp-up, Honda Aircraft has integrated
the latest technology with HondaJet assembly technicians using hand-held
tablets that deliver work instructions. A fully interactive parts list allows
technicians to easily identify parts and their assembly. These devices improve
production efficiency and have the capability to expedite the interface between
the assembly line and inspection, the release added.
Honda Aircraft also announced that the company is expanding
its world headquarters located at the Piedmont Triad International Airport in
Greensboro, North Carolina, to accommodate increasing sales activity and add a
dedicated hangar for delivery preparation. Construction has begun on two
projects, which include a 49,968-square-foot expansion of the main headquarters
building and the addition of a 24,405-square-foot hangar to support aircraft
production and delivery. Both projects are scheduled for completion in the
second half of 2015. The $19 million expansion will bring Honda's total capital
investment in Honda Aircraft Company's facilities to approximately $160 million
and increase its total square footage to more than 680,000 square feet.
"Honda Aircraft has experienced remarkable growth in
both our workforce and infrastructure since the company's founding in
2006," said Fujino. "Our workforce now exceeds 1,200, and the
expansion is part of a phased plan to accommodate our growth," he said.
The HondaJet is the world's most advanced light business jet
aircraft, with best-in-class advantages in performance, comfort, quality and
efficiency. The HondaJet is the fastest, highest-flying, quietest, and most
fuel-efficient jet in its class. The HondaJet incorporates many technological
innovations in aviation design, including the unique Over-The-Wing Engine Mount
(OTWEM) configuration that dramatically improves performance and fuel
efficiency by reducing aerodynamic drag. The OTWEM design also reduces cabin
sound, minimises ground-detected noise, and allows for the roomiest cabin in
its class, the largest baggage capacity, and a fully serviceable private aft
lavatory. The HondaJet is powered by two highly fuel-efficient GE Honda HF120 turbofan
jet engines, and is equipped with the most sophisticated glass flight deck
available in any light business jet, a Honda-customized Garmin G3000
next-generation, all-glass avionics system composed of three 14-inch
landscape-format displays and dual touch-screen controllers.
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