Michimasa Fujino: father of the HondaJet

 - December 26, 2006, 5:02 AM

Twenty years after beginning a quest to develop a jet, Michimasa Fujino stood proudly at the Honda display during last year’s NBAA Convention as Honda Motor president and CEO Takeo Fukui honored him with a public display of support for the HondaJet program. The announcements that followed signaled the beginning of sales for the $3.65 million jet, and by the end of the show Honda Aircraft had logged orders for more than 100 aircraft.

Fujino had just graduated from college with a degree in aerospace engineering when he attended his first NBAA Convention in 1986. “There is no such event as NBAA in Japan,” he said, “so I vividly remember that when I entered the exhibit center, I was struck by the gorgeous exhibits and by the stunning business jets. From that time, it has been my dream to bring a jet I designed to this magnificent show.”

Fujino began his design work on an odd-looking airplane called the MH02. While it provided good experience in the maddening constraints of aircraft design, it wasn’t a superior performer.

The HondaJet began taking shape in 1997 when Fujino proposed the project to Honda management. He and his team spent two years developing core technology such as the airfoil design and the composite fuselage structure. During those early years, Fujino found that it would be possible to minimize drag caused by shock-wave buildup by mounting the engines on top of the wings, adding a unique aspect to the HondaJet’s appearance. Fujino won a patent for his wave drag-reduction technique.
Honda Aircraft submitted its application for a type certificate to the FAA on October 11 and plans to begin deliveries in 2010. The location for HondaJet manufacturing has not yet been announced.