|(photo by Chet Wehe)
|(photo by Chet Wehe)
By Ric Reynolds
July 29, 2013 - Honda Aircraft let it be known last week it planned to bring an FAA-conforming HondaJet to Oshkosh opening day.
But it went one better - it brought two.
Honda Aircraft Company President and CEO Michimasa Fujino took to the podium with EAA Chairman Jack Pelton in front of a red jet - the company's third FAA-conforming airframe - and a blue one, the fifth of six aircraft in Honda Aircraft's certification program.
Oshkosh served as the launching pad for Honda Aviation, he said. "This show has a very special meaning for me, because I introduced the concept for HondaJet to the world for the first time at this air show," Fujino said to the assembled Oshkosh crowd.
"I remember standing here with my HondaJet surrounded by enthusiastic aviation fans. The response was truly overwhelming for me.
"Today I am very pleased that AirVenture has once again provided a setting for another milestone for in HondaJet's history."
Over the past three years Honda Aircraft has developed and produced six conforming airframes. Four are used for flight testing and two for ground structural testing.
The test fleet maintains a very active flight schedule, and continues to achieve milestones for FAA certification flight testing.
The red HondaJet made its first flight in November 2011; it serves mainly to flight test mechanical systems - brakes, flight controls, etc. The aircraft was also used for hot weather testing in Yuma, Arizona, after first visiting NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia to examine the effects of water spray
The blue jet, which flew for the first time on May 16 this year, is the final configuration of a customer aircraft with production interior, Fujino said, anchoring home stretch in the company's certification flight testing. The blue jet will also undertake the FAA function and reliability testing, usually the last step of the process.
"I first sketched the HondaJet on the back of a calendar and Honda engineers took that sketch from the drawing board to the sky," Fujino explained.
"We come to OSH every year because we have a deep passion for aviation.
"I see the same passion and aviation spirit in AirVenture. The support of the aviation community has been tremendous encouragement to me and our associates who work on the HondaJet program."
Pelton said that Honda has "really defined and recognized what EAA is all about, that is innovation, pioneering aviation, and that passion that runs deep through all of us.
"You're what EAA is all about."
By the numbers
The HondaJet specs include a maximum cruise speed of 420 knots true airspeed and a service ceiling of 43,000 feet. After taking off in less than 4,000 feet, it has a 3,990 fpm climb rate and can land in less than 3,000 feet.
Power for this performance comes from two GE Honda/HF120 engines, each generating 2,050 pounds of thrust.