Honda added another element to the business plan for its aviation ventures last month, when the Japanese carmaker announced the formation of Honda Aero Inc., a subsidiary of Honda Motor Co. Led by Junichi Araki, the new business unit will employ only about 10 people and is scheduled to begin operations by year-end at a U.S. location to be determined.
The Experimental Aircraft Association AirVenture at Oshkosh, Wis., next month will be the site for the first public viewing of the HondaJet, an experimental very light jet which has quietly been under development for several years at a Honda research facility at Piedmont Triad Airport in Greensboro, N.C. The jet, powered by two GE Honda HF118 turbofans, made its first flight in December 2003.
Honda Aircraft announced this morning deals with three major component suppliers for the HondaJet. GKN Aerospace of Tallassee, Ala., will supply the structural subassembly for the fuselage, while Avcorp of Delta, British Columbia, will provide the wing structure sub-assembly. Both are major suppliers of civil and defense aerospace systems and components.
Piper Aircraft, whose dealers are working with Honda Aircraft to sell and service the HondaJet, continues with its plans to find a suitable location to build the single-engine PiperJet. While there is no joint effort in engineering and manufacturing of the two jets, “Piper continues to enjoy a strong cooperative relationship with Honda as both companies develop their respective jet programs,” said a Piper spokesman.
In a move that wasn’t overly surprising, Honda Aircraft announced on February 9 that it has decided to build its world headquarters and HondaJet manufacturing plant at Piedmont-Triad International Airport in Greensboro, N.C., site of the company’s research and development facility.
Honda Aircraft announced today that it selected Piedmont-Triad Airport in Greensboro, N.C., to be its world headquarters and sole production and final assembly facility for the HondaJet very light jet. Top Honda Aircraft executives at a press conference, joined by city and state officials, said that the first phase of development will be a 215,000-sq-ft facility for aircraft development, certification, engineering and service and support.
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.
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.