Honda chooses suppliers for nascent jet

 - March 28, 2007, 12:32 PM

Honda Aircraft officials have decided to outsource manufacture of major portions of the HondaJet, including the fuselage and wings. The company also reiterated its plans to equip the HondaJet with a Garmin avionics suite, naming Garmin the official supplier of a system “tailored for the HondaJet.”

GKN Aerospace, an experienced maker of composite components for major aerospace manufacturers, will build the HondaJet’s composite fuselage subassembly. Unlike the filament-wound fuselage on the Raytheon Premier I and Hawker Horizon, the HondaJet fuselage is made of four plies of carbon fiber in a co-cured laminate, with embedded copper mesh to facilitate lightning protection.

Avcorp Industries of Delta, British Columbia, will manufacture the HondaJet’s aluminum wings. Avcorp currently manufactures structural components for Bombardier Challengers and CRJs and Cessna Citation CJ3s and Sovereigns. One of the company’s specialties is metal-to-metal bonding, and that method of construction will likely be used on the HondaJet’s wings.

Certification Clock Started

As announced at the 2006 NBAA Convention, Garmin will provide the HondaJet’s three-display avionics panel. While the HondaJet avionics package will be based on Garmin’s popular G1000 architecture, it will include some new functionality.

Honda Aircraft expects to receive FAA certification of the HondaJet in three to four years and begin deliveries in 2010. The company submitted its application for a type certificate to the FAA in October and received a project number in mid-January. According to Honda Aircraft, the project number signifies “the start of the certification process.”

Since opening the order book at the October 2006 NBAA Convention, Honda Aircraft has officially confirmed orders for “well over” 100 HondaJets. But orders are likely higher, given that the company has said that the initial production rate of 70 airplanes a year will likely grow and that orders have been “overwhelming.” Fleet operators have also demonstrated “significant interest” in the jet.

Honda Aircraft will assemble the jet at a new manufacturing plant that will be built at Piedmont Triad International Airport in Greensboro, N.C. All HondaJet completions will be done there as well.