GE Honda Aero Engines start tests on jet engine for Hondajet ALJ

GE Honda Aero Engines has begun testing its HF120 demonstration engine at Honda's aircraft engine R&D centre in Japan. Over the next five months, it will conduct an array of tests on several HF120 demonstrator engine prototypes.

These will be designed to verify its performance operability, thermal characteristics, and component efficiencies. Full-engine testing follows several months of engine core (hot section) tests on several builds of hardware.

It tested the HF120 core (compressor, combustor, high-pressure turbine) earlier this year to validate the aeromechanical characteristics of the compressor and turbine airfoils. Following this, a second core test was conducted to verify overall component performance and engine thermal characteristics.

The aggressive HF120 test schedule this year is geared to validate significant design enhancements to the engine before full certification testing begins in 2008.

The GE Honda HF120 engine will power the HondaJet advanced light jet (ALJ) and the Spectrum Aeronautical 'Freedom' business jet. HF120 certification is targeted for 2009, and it will enter full service on both aircraft in 2010.

The HF120 engine will be produced at GE's Lynn, Massachusetts, facility from 2009. Honda Aero has recently announced plans to build an engine production facility in Burlington, North Carolina, which is slated to open for engine deliveries in 2010.

The HF120 engine is rated for 2,095 pounds of thrust. It succeeds Honda's original HF118 prototype engine, which has accumulated more than 4,000 hours of testing, on the ground and in flight. GE and Honda redesigned the engine for higher thrust, while seeking new standards of performance in terms of fuel efficiency, durability, low noise and emissions.

GE Honda's new engine will be the ability to operate in service for an industry best-in-class 5,000 hours before the first major overhaul, with no need to open the engine for interim hot-section inspections. This is owing to the advanced airfoil materials and coatings that GE and Honda are maturing for the engine's high-pressure turbine section.

In 2004, GE and Honda formed the 50:50 joint venture, based in Cincinnati, Ohio, near GE Aviation headquarters. It operates from Reston, Virginia, out of a Honda subsidiary established to manage its aviation engine business.