When it comes to trying to determine what plans Honda has for its HondaJet project, a lot of the seemingly obvious evidence could be misleading. For example, just because the company has spent millions developing the engine and airframe hardly ensures that it actually plans to take it to market anytime soon–if ever.
Honda’s “research project” light jet now has its first logbook entry. The six-passenger HondaJet (its now-official provisional name) broke ground for the first time on December 3 from Honda’s purpose-built research facility at Piedmont Triad Regional Airport (GSO), Greensboro, N.C., on the leasehold of FBO and mod specialist Atlantic Aero.
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.
For this year’s look in the crystal ball, AIN added a number of aircraft to the list to reflect ongoing programs more accurately. While many of these aircraft are derivative and not original certifications, they are still new and deserve to be counted.
Honda engineers built a non-motion simulator–the Honda Nonlinear Aerodynamics Flight Simulator–for test-pilot training and to evaluate the flight characteristics of the jet’s configuration. Tests conducted on the simulator include deep stall, spin, one-engine-out and deployment of the dynamic spin chute.
During a briefing held on November 20, Honda Aircraft president Michimasa Fujino showed off the extensive research and testing that the Honda team has accomplished thus far on the HondaJet and parceled out a few more details about the program.
A day before Honda Aircraft formally announced that the HondaJet will use the GE-Honda HF120 engine, Spectrum Aeronautical announced that its new all-composite midsize Freedom S-40 jet will be powered by the HF120, at a thrust rating of more than 2,000 pounds. The stand-up-cabin Freedom will cruise at up to 435 knots, and fly 2,200 nm at up to 45,000 feet. Certification and entry-into-service is set for 2010.
Honda Aircraft and Spectrum Aeronautical both announced at the NBAA Convention that they will use the GE-Honda HF120 engine in their new business jets.
GE Honda Aero Engines (Booth No. 1336) is refining the design of its HF118-2 engine. More than 100 engineers are working on the 1,700-pound-thrust turbofan, which still has to find its first application. “We are making it lighter and more efficient,” Gary Leonard, president of the General Electric-Honda joint venture, told EBACE Convention News here at EBACE 2006.
Honda Aircraft took its first deposits for 100-plus HondaJets during the NBAA Convention last week and is negotiating with “a number of fleet customers,” according to president and CEO Michimasa Fujino. The new twinjet will sell for $3.65 million (2006 dollars), with first delivery scheduled in 2010.