Thirteen years after introducing a new light business jet design at EAA AirVenture in 2005, Honda Aircraft brought the latest version of its HondaJet—the HondaJet Elite—to the 2018 show. The Elite is making its U.S. public debut at AirVenture, a fitting location for the introduction, according to Honda Aircraft president and CEO Michimasa Fujino. “We always think Oshkosh is the origin of the HondaJet,” he said, adding that the “enthusiastic support and overwhelming response at Oshkosh helped us to [make the decision] to commercialize the HondaJet.” The Elite was introduced at the EBACE show in Geneva in May.
The first Elite will be delivered to its buyer in August. Elite and original HondaJets are now sharing the production line, but eventually, all new HondaJets will be in the Elite configuration.
Elite improvements include performance, cabin, and flight deck upgrades. Additional fuel capacity and aerodynamic improvements mean the Elite needs less runway for takeoff and NBAA IFR range with four passengers is now 1,437 nm, up 17 percent from 1,223 nm.
Maximum takeoff weight is up 100 pounds, but some weight-shaving measures carved about 107 pounds from the empty weight, for a more than 200-pound payload increase.
The fuel neck was redesigned to make it easier to insert the fuel nozzle, and a light at the filler warns the fueler when the tank is nearing the full mark.
Interior and exterior noise have been lowered significantly with a unique design feature, a perforated aluminum-honeycomb sandwich engine inlet engineered to cut fan blade passage noise. The noise reduction also contributed to the reduction in weight, by allowing removal of some insulation in the fuselage.
Improvements to the HondaJet’s G3000 flight deck include faster display processors, performance planning for all phases of flight and takeoff/landing distance computation for runway length, V-speeds, climb/approach gradient, and more. The autopilot now offers stability and protection with roll and angle-of-attack functions and coupled go-arounds with underspeed protection.
Buyers have new interior options such as a Bongiovi audio system with speaker-less transducer-based immersive audio, which weighs less than the previous four-speaker sound system.
The lavatory seat now is available for takeoff and landing with its own seatbelt, preserving the seven-seat capacity when the galley is installed. The optional galley is fitted with a coffee maker, and the galley replaces the side-facing seat opposite the cabin entry door.
Thicker carpets are part of the Elite interior, and buyers can now opt for two-toned executive leather seats.
On the outside, “premier signature” paint options are available in colors that deliver greater depth using a new three-layer paint process. The colors are Ice Blue, Ruby Red, and Monarch Orange.
The HondaJet production rate is now about four per month, and Fujino expects that to climb by the end of Honda Aircraft’s fiscal year. Sales are going well, he said. “We have had a very good response from China and Japan, and I think the progress of orders is a steady increase.”