HondaJet expects type certification for the HA-420 light jet “very soon” after completing certification flight tests only a week ago, says chief executive Michimasa Fujino.

The twin-engined, five-passenger jet has also completed all the test conditions required for the function and reliability phase of the certification programme, Fujino said during an NBAA press conference on 17 November.

Function and reliability testing has taken the HondaJet fleet to 58 airports in 34 states, with US Federal Aviation Administration pilots now validating the aircraft’s performance and readiness to enter operational service. Deliveries to customers will begin 7-10 days after type certificate is awarded, but is still expected by end-year, he adds.

“Our company really is preparing for entry into service,” Fujino says.

HondaJet launched the HA-420 programme in 2003, but development of the aircraft and the engine has experienced several delays.

But the company appears finally on the cusp of making the critical transition from development to ramping up production.

More than 1,700 employees now work at a 680,000ft2 factory on a 133 acre campus in Greensboro, North Carolina. The headquarters building was recently expanded.

Meanwhile, 25 production aircraft are in various stages of build inside the final assembly hangar, Fujino says. The first five production aircraft have already achieved first flight, allowing HondaJet to use them as customer demonstration aircraft and for function and reliability flights.

HondaJet now expects to reach a monthly production rate of three to four aircraft in 2016, burning through a firm order backlog that Fujino describes only as greater than 100.

Source: Flight Daily News