July 01--The first production HondaJet achieved its initial flight Friday at Piedmont Triad International Airport in Greensboro.
"With this first flight, the HondaJet program has entered the next exciting phase as we prepare for delivery," Honda Aircraft Co. President and CEO Michimasa Fujino said.
Honda Aircraft Co. is scheduled to enter the HondaJet into service in 2015.
The FAA is working to complete plant production certification for the Honda Aero Inc. facility in Burlington, which should be completed by the end of the year. After the plant is certified, production for the HF 120 engine will be transferred from a facility in Lynn, Mass.
Friday's first flight lifted off at 10:18 a.m. During the 84-minute flight, the aircraft climbed to 15,500 feet and reached a top speed of 348 knots true airspeed. The aircraft was flown by test pilot Warren Gould.
Fujino said the initial flight was the culmination of extensive engineering and production efforts, and was an important achievement in bringing the world's most advanced light jet to market.
According to the Honda Aircraft Co., aircraft production continues at a steady pace in advance of the HondaJet's entry into service. The company expects to have the aircraft ready for delivery immediately after Federal Aviation Administration type certification is achieved.
In December, the FAA awarded airworthiness certification to the HondaJet engine, allowing production to begin. Honda Aircraft announced May 19 that the first HondaJet had been produced and is ready for ground tests.
The production schedule had 10 aircraft on the final assembly line in June. The HondaJet's body and wings are being produced in Greensboro.
Honda Aero's site in Burlington is located on 90 acres at the Burlington-Alamance Regional Airport. The engine manufacturing facility will build the HF 120 engine developed by Honda and GE, which will power the HondaJet.
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