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EBACE: Flying prototypes key to HondaJet test progress despite new delay

Honda Aircraft's fifth test aircraft equipped with a full production interior is now flying as part of the certification programme, the company has said.

Chief executive Michimasa Fujino hails the first flight of this aircraft - on 16 May in North Carolina - as a milestone. "This will anchor the final leg of our flight-test programme," he adds. "From inside and out, this HondaJet matches the final configuration of a customer aircraft."

Earlier today, HondaJet unveiled the new paint scheme and interior on a mock-up at the show.

The aircraft features a special edition blue-and-white pearl finish, with a metallic gold stripe to signify the aircraft's vital role in the programme. The HA-420 will now enter service no sooner than late-2014, following certification delays of the Honda/General Electric HF120 turbofan engine.

Fujino says the ongoing flight tests are making critical progress by reducing the risk of further delays once the engine issues are sorted.

The 2,000lb-thrust (8.9kN) HF120 was scheduled to receive certification by the US Federal Aviation Administration in May, but the agency delayed certification to the latter half of 2013. The aircraft with the engine is scheduled to be certificated a year later.

Check out the latest news and views from this year's EBACE show, including:

Finally, our first new-look iFlights will contain exclusive footage from EBACE 2013. Find out more from 21 May


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