HondaJet takes off in USA

Honda has announced plans to enter the HondaJet in the expanding ‘very light jet’ market, with the sales order process expected to begin in America later this year.

To achieve this, Honda will establish a new U.S. company to hold Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) type certification and production certification. The aim is to complete type certification in about three to four years, followed by the start of production in North America.

Making the announcement at the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) AirVenture 2006, Honda also revealed plans to form a business alliance with Piper Aircraft to collaborate on sales and service, and to explore opportunities in engineering and other areas within general and business aviation.

“Aviation has been an important dream of Honda for more than four decades,” said Satoshi Toshida, senior managing director of Honda Motor Company. “Our goal is consistent with the philosophy of other Honda products – to provide convenient and efficient transportation that will make people’s lives better. We are excited now to enter a new dimension of mobility.”

HondaJet features several innovations that help it achieve far better fuel efficiency, larger cabin and luggage space and higher cruise speed than conventional aircraft in its class.

The announcement to commercialise HondaJet comes one year after the plane made its world public debut at EAA AirVenture 2005 in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.

The result of 20 years of aviation research, key HondaJet innovations include a patented over-the-wing engine-mount configuration, a natural-laminar flow (NLF) wing and fuselage nose, and an advanced all-composite fuselage structure. The advanced all-composite fuselage structure consists of a combination of honeycomb sandwich structure and co-cured stiffened panels. It was developed to reduce weight and manufacturing costs.

The aircraft is also outfitted with an all-glass flight deck with an integrated avionics system that displays all information digitally on a high resolution flat display.

To date, the prototype six-to-seven seat HondaJet has completed more than 240 hours of flight-testing since December 2003. So far, the prototype HondaJet has achieved an altitude of 43,000 feet and a speed of 412 knots and is on course to meet or exceed all of its design specifications.