Making jets

Honda Aero is to establish its corporate headquarters and a jet engine manufacturing plant in Burlington, North Carolina.


Honda Aero is to establish its corporate headquarters and a jet engine manufacturing plant in Burlington, North Carolina, adjacent to the Burlington-Alamance Regional Airport.


The new facility will produce jet engines for GE Honda Aero Engines, a joint venture between GE and Honda Aero, established in 2004 for the development, certification and commercialisation of jet engines in the 1,000 to 3,500 pounds thrust class.


The 102,400-square foot Honda Aero facility will consist of 36,000 square feet of office space, a 58,400-square foot production plant, and an 8,000-square foot engine test cell. Production at the new engine plant will begin in late 2010 with the manufacture of the GE Honda HF120 turbofan engine in the 2,000-pound thrust class.


Honda Aero will employ approximately 70 people  when the plant reaches its initial production plan of 200 engines per year within about one year of production startup. The company will invest approximately $27m for construction of the headquarters and manufacturing facility, including equipment.


The GE Honda HF120 has already been chosen to power Spectrum Aeronautical’s Freedom and HondaJet, to be produced by the Honda Aircraft Company, a separate Honda company. The HF120 is a higher thrust successor to Honda’s original HF118 prototype engine, which has accumulated more than 4,000 hours of testing on the ground and in-flight.


Honda research on jet engine technology started in 1986, with development of the HF118 engine beginning in the late 1990s. The GE-Honda collaboration on the HF120 began in early 2005. The first core test of the GE Honda HF120 was conducted in early 2007, followed by full-engine testing later in the year.