|Contributing Editor, Video Editor|
Honda will delay until mid-2013 delivery of its HondaJet after a current test version of its GE Honda Aero HF120 engine suffered minor damage and a slight loss of thrust during an on-ground ice ingestion test, according to the company. The redesign work will push certification of the engine to late 2012 at the earliest, with full aircraft certification to follow. Honda says it expects a minimal impact on sales for the eight-person, $4.5 million business jet due to slow market conditions. In the U.S. there may be other unwelcome fallout as Honda Aircraft announced that expansion at its Greensboro, N.C., facility, which already employs roughly 600 employees, will take place more slowly now.
The Greensboro facility is expected to create roughly 420 more jobs over the next five years, paying salaries of about $53,000 per year on average. About 100 of those jobs were production positions and had been expected to be created in 2012. Honda now says that goal will be delayed, along with as many as 200 other jobs. Creation of component manufacture and warehouse jobs could also be pushed back up to three years, according to the company. Flight tests are expected to continue with the current version of the HF 120, with a second conforming prototype likely to fly next month. The third test aircraft will fly with the new engines. Honda Aircraft's original goal was to deliver its first HondaJet in 2010 -- a goal that was first delayed in April 2009.