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HondaJet's engine now cleared for takeoff

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GREENSBORO — The FAA has taken the crucial final step that could get the HondaJet out of the hangar to customers in 2014.

The Federal Aviation Administration certified the GE Honda Aero Engine, which will power the HondaJet.  Honda Aircraft Co. is building the light jet at Piedmont Triad International Airport.

GE Honda Aero Engine said Friday in a statement that the company can now build the engine because the FAA has certified its airworthiness. 

The FAA has required extra testing for the engine, which has delayed final delivery of the HondaJet for at least a year. 

Honda had predicted certification of the engine at the end of this year, and it expects to deliver its first plane to customers at the end of 2014. 

The certification of the engine, called the HF120, follows an extensive ground and flight test program that involved 13 engines, GE Honda said. During its certification program, the HF120 engine accumulated more than 14,000 cycles and 9,000 hours of testing.

Assembly is currently under way at GE's plant in Lynn, Mass., which is responsible for initial production.

The company will ultimately produce all of the engines in Burlington next year. 

Honda employs more than 850 people at its headquarters, research and development and manufacturing operations on its 130-acre campus at the airport.

The company said recently that it has six planes on its assembly line and a report in the Des Moines Register earlier this year said that Midwestern buyers have already ordered 22 of the $4.5 million jets. 

Honda has said it expects to sell at least 80 jets a year once it hits full production volume.

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