GE Honda HF120 Update


The type certification program is under way and certification testing will continue well into 2010. The 50/50 joint venture that is GE Honda has seen nearly two years of engine testing (since September 2007), is weeks from producing a conforming design and soon faces 12 months of tests that “will be very busy,” according to Bill Dwyer, president of GE Honda Aero Engines, LLC. The engine has already undergone extensive testing that’s run it through everything from aeromechanics and vibratory margins tests to rotor dynamics and secondary flows testing. In its methodical front-to-back approach, the company has been through eight different cores and 11 full engine demonstrators before arriving at the conclusion of a frozen design and the release of drawings. GE Honda now hopes to build 13 engines this year (2009) as conforming, production-quality engines, which will build 15,000 hours in testing before any outside company sees one. That 15,000 hours will include vibratory surveys, icing tests and all FAA-required testing and put the engine in position to acquire ETOPS certification. HondaJet will be the recipient of the company’s first flight test engines.

The HF120 is rated at 2,095 pounds of thrust and will be run at 105% in testing to prove out the aeromechanics of the engine. The GE Honda project is the first-ever venture in which Honda has shared billing, according to Dwyer. Production will begin at GE’s site in Lynn, Mass., and transition to Honda Aero’s production and overhaul facility in Burlington, N.C. The engine incorporates a wide chord, compound-swept front fan and two-stage booster with composite outlet guide vanes. Its titanium impellor in the compressor is designed for “maximum engine pressure ratio and stall-free performance,” according to the company. GE Honda is aiming for a class-leading 5,000-hour time between overhauls.