There are many new jets and a few new turboprops on designers’ drawing boards, but the volume of new aircraft making it to the entry-into-service point remains fairly low, considering all the projects in the hopper. Last year, only two new clean-sheet designs–the Quest Kodiak and Falcon 7X–joined the ranks of aircraft certified and beginning deliveries.
Honda HA-420 HondaJet
The CEOs of Honda Motor and GE Transportation, a division of General Electric, signed the definitive agreement during the NBAA Convention last month to create GE Honda Aero Engines, a joint company that will pursue the launch of Honda’s HF118 turbofan engine for the light business jet market.
Operators who have ordered a Citation Mustang very light jet don’t have to wait for an aircraft or a simulator to familiarize themselves with the aircraft’s avionics, the Garmin G1000 integrated EFIS.
Local officials and Honda Aero executives yesterday broke ground for the new engine maker’s Burlington, N.C. headquarters. The Honda Aero headquarters and manufacturing facility will cost about $27 million and includes a 58,400-sq-ft production plant and 8,000-sq-ft test cell on 82 acres off the approach end of Burlington-Alamance Regional Airport’s Runway 24. Construction should be finished late next year or early in 2009.
Honda Aircraft signed an agreement with FlightSafety International at NBAA’07 for factory-authorized pilot and mechanic training for the HondaJet. Training initially will be offered at Honda Aircraft’s Greensboro, N.C. headquarters but might later be expanded to FlightSafety learning centers, according to Honda Aircraft CEO Michimasa Fujino.
The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) last month certified the Garmin G1000 integrated avionics system as part of the type certificate for the Diamond DA-42, a four-place diesel twin built in Austria.
Flightline Group's $24 million, four-year, multi-building development project at its Tallahassee (Fla.) Regional Airport (TLH) headquarters will soon begin to take form. By next month, construction crews will start building the company's 26,000-sq-ft regional service center, which will maintain general aviation aircraft and the emerging very light jets when it opens later next year.
If the HondaJet were being developed by a traditional business jet manufacturer, we would undoubtedly know a lot more about its future. Those who follow new-aircraft projects are used to receiving regular updates on milestones and test results along the way as the manufacturer seeks to reassure stockholders, lure new investors–or both.
As the business aviation industry awakens from its three-year slumber, start-up and established manufacturers hope that their aircraft now in the works, as well as those that recently received certification, will take sales revenue to new heights. While this list of new aircraft includes many derivatives, more than half of the proposed aircraft are actually clean-sheet designs.
Cessna Citation CJ4
The Citation CJ4 takes the single-pilot CitationJet into a higher-performance realm while retaining the signature characteristics of what used to be Cessna’s entry-level jet series. The CJ4’s new features should make it easier to fly and maintain than other members of the Citation line.