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.
You are sitting in a diner, sipping your fourth cup of coffee, solving aviation’s problems with an old friend, when the idea comes to you in a caffeinated burst of inspiration: a new jet, one that will fill a niche no manufacturer has yet tackled, with safety features, performance, efficiency and comfort that will open new markets and sell like hot cakes around the globe.
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.
Honda Aircraft revealed the price, projected performance figures and other details of the HondaJet very light twinjet. The company plans to certify the jet for single-pilot operations under Part 23 and start deliveries in 2010, and it submitted a type certificate application to the FAA on October 11.
Piper Aircraft will reveal details of its next-generation aircraft, widely believed to be a single-engine very light jet, during the NBAA Convention next month in Orlando, Fla. Piper officials have said it will fall between the $2 million Meridian turboprop single and the approximately $4 million HondaJet.
Honda announced this morning at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wis., that it will “enter the HondaJet into the growing very light jet market.” According to project leader and vice president of Honda R&D Americas Michimasa Fujino, Honda will establish a new U.S. company to produce the over-the-wing-engine twinjet in the U.S. Honda plans to certify the GE-Honda HF118-powered HondaJet in 2009 or 2010 under FAR Part 23.
Honda Aircraft has selected four U.S. Piper distributors to sell and service the HondaJet, the Japanese manufacturer announced here at NBAA’06.